ARtillry Briefs is a video series that outlines the top trends we’re tracking, including takeaways from recent reports and market forecasts. See the most recent episode below, and past installments are here

One of the factors that gives us confidence in AR’s revenue-generating potential is the amount of investment being made by influential tech giants. That includes most of the major platforms and more notably, tech’s “four horsemen”: Apple, Google, Facebook and Amazon.

But an important question is “why?” What are their motivations? The answer is different for each of these players, but one theme persists: They’re each motivated to protect or grow core businesses. And they’re finding ways that AR (and VR in some cases) accomplishes that goal.

So what are today’s tech giants doing in AR? More importantly, what does this mosaic of investment and innovation tell us about the trajectory of immersive computing? This was the topic of the latest ARtillry Intelligence Briefing and ARtillry Briefs episode (embedded below).

For Google, it’s all about search. Its go-to flavor of AR is visual search, such as Google Lens and Visual Positioning Service (VPS). These are hoped to boost search query volume, but visually versus textually. This positions the increasingly popular smartphone camera as a search input.

Consider Facebook’s core business: Its primary ad revenue correlates to the time we spend in its walled garden. So AR is a means to keep us in that environment longer through more compelling – and advertising-conducive – content to share with friends. Its “version” of AR is Camera Effects.

On to Apple, though it’s increasingly diversifying into software and services, its core business is selling hardware. So most moves it makes are to make iThings more attractive to consumers. AR is no exception, as immersive and visually-compelling apps, via ARkit, make iPhones sexy again.

Amazon is likewise making big XR moves, though perhaps the most shrouded in mystery. Its AR product visualization features engender more informed shoppers who buy more and return less: big factors for the margin-obsessed giant. And its Sumerian platform looms large.

Meanwhile, Microsoft is making big moves in enterprise AR (HoloLens) and consumer VR (Windows Mixed Reality). Snapchat is an early mover in mobile AR, as is Niantic, which is in the midst of an ambitious AR platform play. And Unity continues to expand capabilities in AR.

For more color, check out the latest episode of ARtillry Insights below, and it’s corresponding Intelligence Briefing for a deeper dive.

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Disclosure: ARtillry has no financial stake in the companies mentioned in this post, nor received payment for its production. Disclosure and ethics policy can be seen here.