As detailed in a report by Re/Code, Google is doubling down on virtual reality. Clay Bavor, the long time VP of Gmail and Drive, is being put in charge of a newly created VR division. Enterprise chief Diane Greene will be absorbing his previous responsibilities.
On top of Google apps, Bavor has been managing Cardboard since it launched in 2014. Over the past few years, Google has struck partnerships with the New York Times and most recently for the latest Star Wars movie to distribute over a million Cardboard viewers. They also released a VR camera app to capture moments for later viewing in a Cardboard viewer.
The Re/Code article mentions Google’s investment in Magic Leap as their long term plan for VR, but notes how it is years away from a consumer product. In the short term, we can expect to see Google leverage YouTube as a key distributor for VR-like videos for Cardboard. At CES, they announced a partnership with GoPro to bring more 360-degree video to YouTube. This is on top of the GoPro rig to capture 360-video they announced at last year’s I/O.
The other big news coming from the report is Diane Greene taking over consumer Google apps. Greene has been on Google’s board for several years, but recently her cloud enterprise startup was bought for $380 million. She was placed in charge of Google’s enterprise and cloud business. With web apps being the main way people interact with Google, Greene holds huge responsibility if her task wasn’t already big enough. Google wants its cloud business will to become larger than its advertising business within five years.