Google, AR startup Magic Leap partners to build immersive experiences that merge physical and digital worlds

Alphabet’s Google and augmented reality startup Magic Leap are joining forces in a strategic technology partnership to develop immersive experiences that seamlessly blend the physical and digital worlds. According to an exclusive report from Reuters, this collaboration aims to leverage Magic Leap’s AR hardware expertise with Google’s advanced software platforms.

In a blog post on Thursday, the Florida-based Magic Leap announced the partnership, later confirmed by a Google spokesperson. Although the details remain sparse, the announcement indicates that Google may be preparing to re-enter the augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR) market, a space it has largely ceded to competitors Meta and Apple.

The partnership will also combine Magic Leap’s optics and device manufacturing expertise with Google’s technology platforms, Magic Leap said.

“We’ve shipped a couple of different versions of augmented reality devices so far, so we’re out there delivering things, and Google has a long history of platforms thinking,” Magic Leap’s Chief Technology Officer Julie Larson-Green told Reuters in an interview ahead of the announcement.

“So we’re thinking, putting our expertise and their expertise together, there’s lots of things we could end up doing,” she said.
 Magic Leap is a secretive startup founded in 2011 by Rony Abovitz, Brian Schowengerdt, Randall Hand, and Sam Miller.
The company is working on a head-mounted virtual retinal display, called Magic Leap One, which superimposes 3D computer-generated imagery over real-world objects, by projecting a digital light field into the user’s eye, involving technologies potentially suited to applications in augmented reality and computer vision. Initially celebrated as a pioneer in the AR headset market, Magic Leap struggled to establish a consumer base. Recently, it has shifted focus to licensing its technology and manufacturing components for other companies.
We covered Magic Leap in 2018 after reports that the wearable technology startup was in talks to raise a $400 million investment from  Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund. Google is an investor in Magic Leap.

According to Crunchbase, the company is backed by big names like Qualcomm Ventures, Alibaba, Morgan Stanley, T. Rowe Price, Google, Fidelity, Kleiner Perkins and Andreessen Horowitz. Magic Leap is currently valued at nearly $5 billion by CB Insights.