Google is reportedly in talks to acquire smart glasses maker North Inc. for $ 180 million, possibly supporting its own efforts with the acquisition. Google had limited success with its own “Google Glass” smart glasses, although the project continues. The new purchase, if it happens, could also complement Google’s acquisition of Fitbit.

In case you’re unfamiliar, North is a Canada-based company that makes Smart Glasses that project an image into an optional lens. The company previously opened a showroom in Brooklyn, NY in late 2018. Obviously, these glasses don’t have a touchscreen: North’s first-generation smart glasses used a built-in microphone and a ring (just like the touch controls it uses). on one finger) for commands. They could do things like show you notifications and messages as they come in, or help with navigation. For more details, you can view MrMobile’s video review of the first generation product here.

Virtual demo of North’s first generation “Focals”.

Details are courtesy of The Globe and Mail, though there aren’t too many in the story, and the sources haven’t been revealed. North previously acquired Intel’s smart glasses patents in 2018, propping up its own portfolio. But the company has faced more recent problems, such as failing to materialize an anticipated second-generation product and laying off nearly 500 employees last year. The Globe and Mail was informed that the company may not have sold “many more than 1,000 pairs” and was close to running out of money.

North reportedly started looking for a buyer earlier this year, apparently drawing Google’s interest.

It remains to be seen how Google plans to use the acquisition, if it happens. The company may simply want to bolster its own smart glasses efforts now that Google Glass is gaining some traction in business use, although there may be other portable applications. We are still waiting for the Fitbit acquisition to be approved as well, so this could just be Google covering your bets.