Earlier this month, Google unveiled Daydream View, its new $79 virtual reality headset that will launch next month. But apparently the company has more under development where that come from.
In July, reports revealed that Google was developing a higher-end headset. According to a new report from Engadget, the headset won't use remotes or joysticks--it will be controlled by the wearer's eye movements. And on Monday, tech startup Eyefluence, which is developing eye-tracking technology, announced on its site that Google has acquired the company.
Google's new headset reportedly will give wearers a view of the world around them, which means it falls under the realm of augmented reality. This is in contrast to the virtual reality Daydream View headset, which creates the illusion of an entirely artificial environment around the user. Also unlike the View, the new headset will be standalone and won't require the use of a computer or smartphone to operate.
Google hasn't yet confirmed how it will use Eyefluence's technology. Neither company immediately responded to Inc.'s requests for comment. Given what's already known about the headset, though, it seems logical that the startup's eye-tracking abilities might play a role in the new headset.
The news suggests Google is looking to enter the same ring occupied by the Microsoft HoloLens, an augmented reality headset that's still in development, as well as secretive AR startup Magic Leap. Interestingly, Google led a $542 million funding round in for the latter company, which still hasn't publicly shown its technology, in 2014.
Fove, a VR startup with eye-tracking technology, recently raised nearly $500,000 on Kickstarter. That company will begin taking pre-orders for its headsets next month.
The headset would be Google's latest venture into hardware. The Pixel phone was released October 20, and Daydream View and Google Home will launch November 4. Google Glass, the company's previous attempt at augmented reality, was widely considered a flop and has been sent back to the lab for revamping.
Parent company Alphabet is making serious efforts to diversify its cash streams, as 90 percent of its revenue currently comes from ad sales via Google's search feature.