Google just made a VR partnership we didn't expect

Official promo images for the Magic Leap 2 augmented reality glasses
(Image credit: Magic Leap)

What you need to know

  • Magic Leap and Google announced that the two companies are entering a "multi-faceted, strategic technology partnership."
  • The announcement doesn't get into specifics, but it likely means new hardware from Magic Leap made for Google's upcoming Android XR platform.
  • This marks one of several major XR partnerships between Google and other technology providers like Samsung.

The mixed reality wars are heating up, and the latest partnership announcement between Google and Magic Leap further proves it. Magic Leap announced on the company's blog that it would enter a new, multi-faceted strategic technology partnership with Google to "expand the long-standing relationship between the two companies."

Magic Leap currently makes augmented reality glasses that are used in commercial and enterprise spaces for things like virtual training, manufacturing, and demonstrations, among other things. While the announcement doesn't specifically announce new hardware, the company says that "Magic Leap’s leadership in optics and manufacturing" will be combined with Google's technology platforms to "foster the future of the XR ecosystem with unique and innovative product offerings."

At Google I/O 2024, the company quickly demonstrated a new pair of AR glasses that use the new Project Astra AI platform. The demonstration was short but impressive, showing how AI could be used on a pair of mixed-reality glasses to help people solve problems and even remember where they left things like car keys and glasses. It's not known if these glasses are just internal prototypes at Google or something to have to do with this Magic Leap partnership.

Android Central has contacted Google to obtain additional information about this partnership, but they did not respond in time for publication. We will update the article once we hear back.

Google is already an investor in Magic Leap, so the partnership makes sense given Google's renewed sense of interest in XR after the debut of the Apple Vision Pro. Magic Leap has been making AR glasses for years, so it makes sense for Google to partner with a company that already has experience in the space in order for it to build out its expected upcoming Android XR platform.

Google is already in another partnership with Samsung to deliver the first Samsung XR headset, expected to debut later this year. Meanwhile, Quest 3 maker Meta recently announced that it would partner with companies like Xbox, Lenovo, and Asus ROG to create new headsets using its own Horizon OS.

Nicholas Sutrich
Senior Content Producer — Smartphones & VR
Nick started with DOS and NES and uses those fond memories of floppy disks and cartridges to fuel his opinions on modern tech. Whether it's VR, smart home gadgets, or something else that beeps and boops, he's been writing about it since 2011. Reach him on Twitter or Instagram @Gwanatu