Google struck a strategic partnership with once-hyped augmented reality (AR) company Magic Leap to combine efforts on the creation of immersive experiences, potentially ramping up competition with rivals including Meta Platforms and Apple.

Magic Leap stated it has agreed to collaborate with Google to combine its expertise in optics and device manufacturing with Google’s technology platforms, although detail on what exactly the pair will be working on remains undisclosed.

Google was one of many high-profile investors in Magic Leap, backing which helped it hit a $6.4 billion valuation in 2018. In the same year, the AR company secured a partnership with AT&T for the US operator to offer its headsets.

However, poor sales led to lay-offs and rumours of a potential sale, before it eventually restructured to pivot towards enterprise customers in 2020.

Its valuation then fell to $2 billion, around the time Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund bought a controlling stake in the business.

For Google, a partnership with Magic Leap could reignite its ambitions in developing AR and VR offerings, following the first introduction of Google Glass smart eyewear more than a decade ago.

Issues around privacy and general design of the device led to an exit from the consumer market in 2015, and Google then abandoned a related enterprise play in 2023.

Since then, Meta Platforms has made significant moves in the space and Apple last year unveiled the Vision Pro, its first product in the segment.

Magic Leap CTO Julie Larson-Green told Reuters it had shipped different version of AR devices so far “and Google has a long history of platforms thinking”.