Google was one of the first to get a virtual reality viewer out there, in Cardboard. Quickly followed by Samsung with the Gear VR, and many other companies putting out their own. Now with HTC partnering with Valve for the Vive which will be out in April, and Oculus (now owned by Facebook) putting out the Rift in a few months, Google seems to be behind. But that might change, and change quickly. On Tuesday, Google made some pretty big changes. They moved Clay Bavor, who was VP for product management and ran Gmail, Drive and Docs, has also been overseeing Cardboard. However, now, Bavor is moving over to being in charge or virtual reality products, as Google is making that it’s own division within the company.
Meanwhile, Diane Greene, who joined Google in November, is set to take on apps and will also be focusing on enterprise operations. Diane Greene came to Google after being CEO at VMware, so she definitely is cut for being in charge of enterprise operations. So in just two moves, Google has shown that they are serious about virtual reality as well as the enterprise business. Google did confirm the changes happening today, but did not comment on the changes.
Many have wondered if Google will stick around with virtual reality, and Cardboard in general. As the search giant has a history of creating products, and then killing them just a few years later. And after having Google Glass come out, and not hearing anything new about it in a few years, Google has begun to move cautiously with new projects. However, spinning off virtual reality into its own unit within Google, does signal that they are dedicated to virtual reality. At least in the immediate future. Of course, things can and will change. But for now, it looks like Cardboard is here to stay for a bit.
The other bit of news is that Google is saying “virtual reality” and not Cardboard. So we might be seeing some new virtual reality viewers from Google in the near future. With the dates for Google I/O announced earlier today, it wouldn’t be surprising to see more news at Google I/O in May.