Alphabet Inc’s Google has created a virtual reality (VR) computing division and appointed Clay Bavor to head this venture. Mr Bavor is already the vice president of Virtual Reality at Google.
As vice president of product management, Mr Bavor oversaw some of Google’s key apps, including Gmail, Google Drive and Google Docs.
In May last year, the company announced a partnership with action-camera maker GoPro to enable 360 degree view in virtual reality, using a new technology that Google had developed.
Oculus, the virtual reality company Facebook bought in 2014, has started accepting pre-orders for its much-awaited virtual reality headset, Rift.
Cardboard, which was designed to be a mainstream introduction to VR, has seen some success in getting out into the wild. It began distribution programs with schools this year.
The Cardboard team also introduced an integration with GoPro that brings virtual reality video to YouTube, a feature that Bavor introduced at Google I/O in May.
Yet many people in the industry have questioned Google’s dedication to the platform, noting that the company has moved cautiously after its fumble with Google Glass.
Facebook, conversely, has been open and assertive about its ambitions in VR, running Oculus as its own separate division.
It’s likely that Google’s long-term bet on the computing platform is its investment in stealthy augmented reality firm Magic Leap. But that product is several years, if not a decade, from a consumer reality.
Four hundred people at Facebook currently work on Oculus. A Google rep would not say how many people work on Cardboard or any other unannounced VR products.
Just as critical in Pichai’s managerial shift are the new duties for Greene. The former VMware CEO came to Google (for a steep price) after an extensive search.
Greene is responsible for turning two of Google’s biggest untapped assets — its cloud sales division, which is well behind Amazon, and its enterprise applications sales, which have yet to take off despite several attempts — into a business that can rival search.