An internal Google reorganization sees the company create a new group to oversee “high-potential, long-term projects.” Overseen by Clay Bavor, Google Labs includes AR & VR and Area 120.
According to TechCrunch today, with the company confirming, Google Labs is “focused on extrapolating technology trends and incubating a set of high-potential, long-term projects.”
In an announcement to staff, the company described the reorganization as one that’s “focused on starting and growing new, forward-looking investment areas across the company.”
More specifically, “Labs” includes existing augmented and virtual reality projects — like ARCore, the Starline conferencing booth with a 3D display, and Area 120. Today’s report explains how “individuals will be hired into the project teams themselves.”
Area 120 is an internal incubator responsible for projects like Stacks, Museletter, GameSnacks, and Threadit. Successful ones are often integrated into existing services (e.g., Tables into Google Cloud), while unpopular projects are deprecated. The Labs reorganization sees Area 120 elevated, with TechCrunch noting how it was previously “three layers deep in terms of reporting to Google CEO Sundar Pichai — even though Pichai himself had to sign off on its every exit.”
This move sees Clay Bavor take an “expanded role” and report directly to Pichai. Before taking on AR & VR in 2015, he led Gmail, Drive, Docs, and other consumer and enterprise applications. A Google spokesperson shared the following statement with us:
Clay has taken on an expanded role. His work will focus on long-term technology projects that are in direct support of our core products and businesses.
The name is only being used internally to organize everything and not as a consumer-facing brand. In the 2000s, “Google Labs” was a landing page of sorts where users could test various projects and features.
Overall, this reorganization is meant to create long-term bets inside Google that are more consumer-facing and practical than something like X’s moonshots.
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