Google has just invested a major talent into its Cardboard VR program. Reports are in that the Menlo Park-based tech biggie has named Jon Wiley, the former design head of Google Search, as the lead designer of the much-discussed Google Cardboard division – the company's low-end (but equally effective) sub-$10 3D virtual reality headset. While Wiley's Twitter account reflects his new position and Google too confirmed the move, they have remained tight-lipped about the details of the transition. Neither have they offered any clue as to who could possibly take over the reins of Wiley's former role.
It is needless to say that the Google Cardboard division which once seemed like a joke or a gimmick has evolved into something that can help Google refine the mobile experience. Even without hard evidence, it is reasonable to assume that Google has big plans for its DIY Cardboard VR.
It was back in April that Google came up with a 'Works with Google Cardboard' certification program for hardware and software makers to ensure that their VR designs were consistent with the company's ideas. In March, Wall Street Journal also reported about Google's plans of developing a new virtual reality centric OS based on the Android ecosystem. And now, the recent transition of Jon Wiley from the Google Search team to its more ambitious Cardboard VR division is proof enough of the company's grand plans.
For those who do not know, Wiley's claim to fame is his Google Now Cards that pull out relevant information from the user's search and present them on smartphones and Android Wear devices. While it still isn't clear as to how Wiley's experience in Google Search makes him apt for Cardboard, most would agree that the Cardboard needs a more user-friendly interface to catch the attention of the general population.
Meanwhile, the VR segment is growing more crowded with each passing day. Samsung has just released a new iteration of its Gear VR and HTC too plans to launch the Vive later this year. Facebook and Sony are also working on their respective headsets which they intend to bring out next year.