While its rivals have been seen to be pushing ahead with major VR and AR projects, Google has appeared to be rather whimsical in its efforts so far - as evidenced by the jokey Cardboard VR headset. Now, in what many have commented upon as being a make-or-break year for VR, Google looks to be upping its game by forming a dedicated division for virtual reality computing.
A report published by Re/Code reveals that CEO Sundar Pichai is "moving over a key deputy" to run the new VR division. A Google spokesperson confirmed to Re/Code that Clay Bavor, VP for product management of key Google apps such as Gmail, Drive and Docs will move to focus solely on virtual reality products. Indeed Bavor has just revealed his new official title: VP, Virtual Reality at Google (see image below).
While Cardboard might not seem a very serious attempt at VR, it does have some compelling apps and is very accessible for users on any budget. Google splashed its cash to lead a $542M funding round to back Magic Leap 15 months ago due to 'FOMO' or a 'fear of missing Oculus'. With Bavor's move to full time VR project work it shows that Google is loading up to fire a VR technology broadside in the not-too-distant future.
In other Google news, boss Sundar Pichai has Tweeted the date and location for the upcoming annual Google I/O conference. I/O 16 will take place in Google's home town of Mountain View "where it all started 10 yrs ago". The venue is a place called Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View. Google I/O is a three day event running from Wednesday 18th to Friday 20th May.
What might Google be discussing and showing this year? It will probably debut information about Android N, show off some new and improved Glass wearables and we might learn more about its IoT, VR and automotive projects progression - as well as some surprises.