Two weeks ago, a report claimed that Google is forming its own VR division, with Clay Bavor (former VP of Gmail and Drive) in charge of the new focus on virtual reality. Now, two job listings have shown up indicating Google isn’t just really interested in VR as a concept, it wants to build its own hardware too.
Google has posted VR job listings for a Hardware Engineering Technical Lead Manager as well as a PCB Layout Engineer. Both of these job listings specifically mention Virtual Reality in the main job roles, and also mention consumer devices, suggesting Google wants to launch its own VR hardware for the general consumer.
A snippet from the PCB Layout Engineer listing states:
Google custom-designs hardware for consumer electronics applications. The Hardware Engineering team ensures that this cutting-edge devices are reliable and robust. As a CAD/PCB Layout Engineer on the hardware team, you will be working on fast-paced boards for consumer devices. You will work with Hardware Designers and Mechanical Engineers throughout the full product development life-cycle, supporting PCB outline, component placement and routing. You will work as an integral part of the Systems Hardware Development team, interfacing with external fabricators or vendors to apply state of the art industry standards, tools and technologies.
As you’d expect, the PCB Layout Engineer’s job is to design and outline printed circuit boards for manufacturing and testing in hardware. The Technical Lead Manager is expect to be heavily involved in design and building the team to get its hardware up and running on the market:
As the Hardware Engineering Technical Lead Manager for the consumer hardware products, you will drive the design and execution of our ever increasing product portfolio. You will be responsible for the building multiple CE devices and will put together the right team that will scale with our product offering.
We’ve known for some time that Google is very interested in Virtual Reality. Its initial entry to market was Google Cardboard which doesn’t contain any electronics, and is incredibly affordable. But with high-tech developments like Project Tango and its involvement with Magic Leap, it’s clear Google wants more than just a cheap lens-equipped cardboard headset in its VR product line. That’s without mentioning the most recent hire, Jason Toff, who left Vine/Twitter to join Google’s VR team.
With listings for hardware leads, it’s clear now that it doesn’t want to rely on third party manufacturers, which could potentially slow down development.
With it already having optimized services like YouTube for 3D, 360-degree/VR viewing, Google has the software and content to take advantage of the growing market. What it doesn’t have yet is its own hardware. By having both the content/software and hardware, it could make a compelling case for itself.