Google's augmented reality push appears to be gaining speed. The company is reportedly buying Raxium, a startup out of Fremont, Calif., which develops light displays used in AR hardware, according to The Information.
The acquisition is a sign that Google's seriously focused on developing the components needed to bring AR devices to life.
Though the price of the deal was not disclosed, previous acquisition conversations discussed Google buying Raxium for $1 billion, The Information reported. Google is also reportedly looking into more acquisitions related to AR headset components. Google did not respond to request for comment from Protocol.
Google is obviously not a newcomer to AR. In fact, it was one of the earliest companies to attempt a consumer-facing augmented reality gadget, the ill-received Google Glass, which was released to developers in 2013 and to the public in 2014. The backlash was almost instantaneous, with users receiving the unfortunate nickname, "Glassholes." The fact that the glasses had a built-in camera was particularly problematic. But times have changed. Google Glass found its calling in the enterprise, and consumers are now more open to the idea wearing glasses or headsets to experience virtual worlds. Google is now working on a new AR headset, codenamed Project Iris, which it hopes to ship by 2024, The Verge reported.
The acquisition comes as major tech companies have all publicly announced their plans to push into augmented and virtual reality. Facebook parent company Meta, which also makes the popular Quest 2 headset, is working on a new device called Project Cambria (though Mark Zuckerberg said he doesn't see comfortable AR glasses becoming a thing for a least a few more years). Apple is also reportedly working on a mixed-reality headset and a pair of AR glasses. Both Meta and Apple have made acquisitions of AR companies in recent years. Snap has also invested heavily into AR, such as the development of its Spectacle glasses and its Lens Studio.
Raxium was founded in 2017 and has yet to publicly release a commercial product, according to The Information.