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The departure of Paul Greco from Google raises questions about the tech giant’s ability to realize its AR ambitions.
Google’s augmented reality team has suffered another significant loss with the departure of Paul Greco, vice president of engineering. Greco left Google to pursue a new opportunity, as confirmed by a company spokesperson. However, the spokesperson declined to comment on the details of Greco’s departure.
Google’s AR Hardware Development Marred by Strategy Shifts, Cancelled Projects, and Key Exits
Google’s efforts to develop AR hardware have been characterized by chaos and indecision. A report from last year cites seven current and former employees familiar with Google’s AR plans and paints a picture of a company struggling with strategy shifts, cancelled projects, and high-profile departures.
Google’s interest in AR hardware has focused on two types of devices: a slim AR glasses (known as “Project Iris” until 2023) and a mixed reality headset similar to Apple’s Vision Pro (known as “Project Moohan”). However, the development of these devices has been fraught with difficulties, including technical hurdles, strategic changes, and key personnel departures.
In early 2022, Google reportedly halted Project Iris and the development of its AR-specific chips. This was followed by the departure of Clay Bavor, Google’s long-time XR head, which reportedly led to chaos in the AR department. Mark Lucovsky, who was leading the development of an AR operating system for Google, also left the company, citing Google’s “uncertain commitment and vision” in the AR sector.
Despite these setbacks, Google is not abandoning its AR ambitions. The company has formed a new team to work on monocular and binocular AR glasses, along with a corresponding operating system that Google plans to license to partners, similar to Android. Google is also said to still work with Samsung on a XR headset.
Google’s Struggles with AR Development Highlight Industry Challenges and Raise Doubts About Its Competitive Position
Google’s difficulties in developing AR hardware are indicative of the challenges faced by tech companies in this emerging field. The departure of key personnel like Paul Greco further underscores these challenges and raises questions about Google’s ability to execute its AR strategy effectively.
That said, Google’s apparent inability to maintain a consistent AR strategy could undermine its efforts in this space. Its repeated strategy shifts and project cancellations suggest a lack of direction, which could hinder its ability to compete with companies like Apple that have a more focused approach to AR.
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