Google is buying Lytro for around $40,000,000

Mar 21, 2018

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

Google is buying Lytro for around $40,000,000

Mar 21, 2018

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

Join the Discussion

Share on:

Google, it seems, is acquiring Lytro. Yes, the company that made that crazy light field camera and then got out of photography to move into VR and cinema is being snapped up. In a deal which TechCrunch report to be worth either $40mil or $25mil, depending on who you ask, Google will pick up the company in an “asset sale”. Presumably, this will include the 59 patents related to light-field and imaging technology which Lytro owns.

$25-40 million sounds like a lot of money, but when you consider that Lytro received over $200 million in funding and the company was valued at about $360 million in 2017, it seems to fall a little short. Investors include Foxconn, GV, Greylock, Qualcomm and plenty more. TechCrunch also points out that Lytro only recently acquired VR game developers, Limitless.

https://vimeo.com/179833357

It does seem like an ideal convergence of technologies, at least for Google and consumers. Exactly how Google will make use of the technology obtained in the deal is unclear. But given Google’s constant push into VR and computational imaging, we can be reasonably confident that it’ll be something that’ll blow 90% of people away whenever it’s announced. 9% will still be impressed but will wait until the second generation when it’s a little more refined. The final 1% just won’t see the point and will rant about it on Facebook.

That’s the way things usually go, and it’s how things went with Lytro when they released their first light-field camera. Then, when the second generation came, people took a more serious look. And they might’ve actually done quite well in the photography world, had they not pulled out of it shortly after.

Whatever comes of this deal, it will be interesting. I’m curious to see how this might affect the inroads Lytro has made into Hollywood. Will it fork off as a separate company? Will it simply be abandoned? Or will Google start getting into movie production cameras and visual effects, too?

[via TechCrunch]

Filed Under:

Tagged With:

Find this interesting? Share it with your friends!

John Aldred

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

Join the Discussion

DIYP Comment Policy
Be nice, be on-topic, no personal information or flames.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

11 responses to “Google is buying Lytro for around $40,000,000”

  1. Tj Ó Seamállaigh Avatar
    Tj Ó Seamállaigh

    Embrace yourselves. More damn ads are coming (maybe next time even in your own viewfinder before you shoot).

  2. Serguei Vergounov Avatar
    Serguei Vergounov

    Looks like this video confirms once again that Americans have never really landed on the Moon, and staged ‘the Moon landing’ in studio.

  3. Pavlos Pavlidis Avatar
    Pavlos Pavlidis

    Way too cheap for these days and for something that could get huge on the hands of a huge company with Google’s resources. Could lead to phones with exceptional cameras.

  4. TByte Avatar
    TByte

    I knew those moon landings were faked.
    Proof!

  5. Albin Avatar
    Albin

    My guess would be Google wants the imaging IP for its phone and “Clip” cameras, enabling some serious advances in depth of field and compositing in small devices (where it probably already has a deeper research bench for VR and video than Lytro does.) Lytro imaging is a fiesta for manual post-processing, where Google has the chops to automate and simplify it.

  6. Julio Hnntl Avatar
    Julio Hnntl

    Florian Mehdi hum, il rachète vraiment tout

  7. Adam Kopf Avatar
    Adam Kopf

    Only slightly more than what LowePro/Joby sold for

  8. Yann Philippe Avatar
    Yann Philippe

    Fabrice Laroche ?

  9. Renato Murakami Avatar
    Renato Murakami

    “But given Google’s constant push into VR and computational imaging, we can be reasonably confident that it’ll be something that’ll blow 90% of people away whenever it’s announced. 9% will still be impressed but will wait until the second generation when it’s a little more refined. The final 1% just won’t see the point and will rant about it on Facebook.

    That’s the way things usually go, and it’s how things went with Lytro when they released their first light-field camera. Then, when the second generation came, people took a more serious look. And they might’ve actually done quite well in the photography world, had they not pulled out of it shortly after.”

    That’s… a bit unwarranted, isn’t is John? VR still isn’t doing too well in the end consumer space just yet, it recouped some ground thanks to huge pricedrops, but it’s still far from being a mainstream thing. Which is understandable given tech spec requirements and a somewhat limited usability, but still. On Google’s perspective, Project Tango was killed right after release, and I’m not hearing a whole lot about ARCore too. VR has mostly been, with Google Cardboard and Daydream, not much more than a gimmick. It pops up every now and then, but it’s mostly an afterthought, limited to some showroom floors and whatnot.

    Computational imaging worked plenty well for Pixel 2, and it is technically impressive, but truth is, the smartphone itself didn’t sell all that well. It went waaay better than the first Pixel for sure, and I think it sold more than the iPhone X, but that’s still not a whole lot – given that the first Pixel was a complete failure in sales, and the iPhone X is also considered a failure for iPhone sales standards.

    And Lytro itself certainly did not do well with the stuff they released. It’s understandable – technically challenging approach, different and new paradigm, requirements for proprietary software and plugins, and a whole bunch of stuff. But in case you don’t remember:
    https://www.theverge.com/2017/12/6/16742314/lytro-focus-photos-support-cameras-illum
    https://petapixel.com/2017/01/12/look-lytro-illum-camera-future-failed/
    https://www.wired.com/2016/04/why-i-lit-up-lytro/
    https://www.imaging-resource.com/news/2016/04/05/well-duh-lytro-finally-realizes-nobody-wants-refocusable-low-res-cameras

    I’ll agree with one thing though: it should be interesting for Google to use Lytro expertise to keep investing in a different approach for the Pixel cameras. But it’s really hard to tell how much Google will make use of that. It could end up being another Phonebloks/Project Ara.

    1. Kaouthia Avatar
      Kaouthia

      I don’t think it’s unwarranted. I didn’t say 90% would buy into it, I said they’d be blown away by it (and that’s only 90% of the people who actually know about it). I was talking about the implications of the technology, and the whole concept of both Lytro and VR is extremely exciting to a whole lot of people, even if the tech isn’t there yet.

  10. Marius Budu Avatar
    Marius Budu

    Of course they are…