Google Labs is Reborn with AR/VR Thinktank
When you’re one of the colossal mega-corporations ruling the planet’s technology, you have to always be making a splash, especially when the competition is trying to beat you to the punch. For Google, that competition is Facebook, or should we say Meta, since that change was affected about a month ago and Meta has been rapidly acquiring assets and making grand visions of the future of the metaverse ever since.
Not to be outdone, Google has started its own consolidation of things, with a reorganization of its virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) units along with Project Starline and its Areas 120 in-house project incubator to take on the much more efficient name - Google Labs.
The mega-corporation is shifting these projects, all of them forward-looking towards what most suspect is a future designed around the metaverse and all of its nebulous components.
Google Labs’ first leader will be Clay Bavor. Baylor was recently named to Forbes Top 40 under 40 and is a long-time Google employee and graduate of the Princeton computer science program.
Bavor has adopted the new Google motto of “VR for everyone” and reports directly to Google CEO Sundar Pichai. This year, Bavyor oversaw the launch of Google’s VR operating system, along with the debut of the accompanying controller, headset, and hardware blueprints that other manufacturers can expand from.
He’s been there since 2016, when he first launched the AR/VR platform Daydream for the Android. That effort didn’t go so well, with small return rates and poor reception leading to its cancelation in 2019.
But he’s been more successful with Project Starline, which can best be described as a sort of ‘magic window’ which allows users to talk to each other in a way that far exceeds video chat technologies of the modern day.
It is an experimental light field display and it works without the need for any sort of goggles, glasses, or even a headset. Bavor also spearheaded Area 120, which has seen several startups launch out of its doors, including the likes of Gamesnacks, Adlingt, Avera AI, Origin WiFi, Stack, and Adlingo.
Google Labs might sound a bit cliched, after all that was the informal name for the company’s R&D department in the 2000s when the company was regularly cranking out new features like Gmail, Google Calendar, and Google Wave. The new Google Labs hasn’t been officially announced, but the scoop came from a TechCrunch report.
Google executives have been pretty mum about their plans for an incursion into the metaverse, seeming to be focusing on AR/VR development and leaving the actual creation of the metaverse to the rest of the big-time players. That’s not a bad strategy, considering Google waited until the Internet itself was taking shape before creating the search engine that it is famous for.