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Report: Google Could Be Inching Back to Augmented Reality

Google

Google is forming a partnership with augmented reality (AR) startup Magic Leap.

“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 Chief Technology Officer Julie Larson-Green told Reuters Thursday (May 30). “So, we’re thinking, putting our expertise and their expertise together, there’s lots of things we could end up doing.”

While the companies have offered few details about their collaboration, Reuters reported the partnership is a sign that Google could be planning a return to the market for augmented and virtual reality (VR) technology, spaces otherwise denominated by rivals Apple and Meta.

The partnership would meld Florida-based Magic Leap’s optics and device manufacturing expertise with Google’s technology platforms, the report said.

Neither company would say whether the partnership is expected to produce a consumer AR device, according to the report.

Larson-Green told the news outlet she is particularly eager to work with some of the “cool AI tie-ins” with augmented reality that Google announced at its recent developer conference.

While it’s not clear if the partnership will yield a consumer AR device, research has shown consumers do want AR and VR to help improve their shopping experiences.

“Immersive technologies such as VR and AR provide consumers with a deeper understanding of products compared to traditional two-dimensional images or descriptions,” PYMNTS reported April 25.

For instance, AR lets customers visualize how furniture might look in their homes or how clothing will fit their bodies, thus letting them make more informed purchasing decisions and reducing the likelihood of returns.

“Virtual try-on helps to reduce returns because you get the best product, which you like [the most],” Perfect Corp. President and Chief Growth Officer Wayne Liu said in an interview with PYMNTS in February.

Immersive shopping experiences can also induce emotions and forge a stronger connection between buyers and brands.

“By allowing customers to interact with products in a more meaningful way, retailers can evoke feelings of excitement, satisfaction and confidence, which can positively influence purchase decisions and brand loyalty,” PYMNTS wrote.