For the past few years, Google’s AR and VR efforts have been led by Clay Bavor. The longtime executive is now set to leave the company next month.
Bavor has worked at Google since 2005. By 2013, he led product management and design for Gmail, Google Drive, Docs, and Google Apps for Enterprise (now Google Workspace) as vice president.
In 2015, he “started and led Google’s AR/VR effort and several related projects.” This included Cardboard and Daydream during Google’s initial period of interest in virtual reality. There were two generations of the phone-powered Daydream View and a standalone Daydream VR headset. Google also had a line of point-and-shoot VR180 cameras with dual, fish-eye lenses to simplify virtual reality capture.
Google stopped selling Daydream View headsets in 2019. The Pixel 4 was not certified for it and Android 11 dropped OS-level support. Looking at AR, the company today has Google Lens visual search, Google Maps Live View navigation, and ARCore. Just this month, Android announced an XR partnership with Samsung.
In November of 2021, Bavor became VP of a Labs division “focused on extrapolating technology trends and incubating a set of high-potential, long-term projects.” This included augmented reality and Project Starline.
Google is rumored to be working on a new AR headset called Project Iris, and acquired AR glasses company North in 2020. It’s also using Glass Enterprise in conjunction with Tensor-powered Pixel phones to test AR, while AR translation glasses were shown off at I/O 2022.
Bavor made his departure announcement in a LinkedIn post this morning:
After 18 wonderful years at Google, today is when, and I’m incredibly excited to share that I am cofounding that company with my longtime friend Bret Taylor.
He’ll remain until March, and is “focusing on transitioning my teams and projects, and wrapping things up properly at Google.”
Bavor’s current role will not see a replacement, with AR work moving into both Platforms & Ecosystems and Devices & Services. Meanwhile, Labs work on emerging technologies will continue under the Technology & Society team.
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