If several new jobs listings from Google are any indication, the company's VR and AR efforts may soon kick into overdrive. Conjecture about what exactly Google has up its collective sleeves include the long-rumored new Google Glass, a standalone VR headset, or another simple update that includes more robust internal hardware to augment device performance. Of course, it could genuinely be something unheard of, but the current expectations have been heavily influenced by descriptions in the job listings themselves.
Among the positions the company is looking to fill, there are two in particular that are noteworthy. One is a listing for a Technical Lead Product Design Engineer and the other seeks a Hardware Validation Manager. Both are listed as being tied directly to Google's "Virtual Reality" department. The lead design position is listed as including responsibility for defining architectures in conjunction with associated VR teams and pushing each step of the creative design process from start to finish – in addition to working with engineering partners to bring products through the final stages of design and production. The listing for Hardware Validation Manager is also relatively self-explanatory. The position entails overseeing the validation of hardware, including building the team responsible for the validation process. It also includes working with in-house testers, partners, and manufacturers through the "mass production" phase to ensure quality control.
Yet another likely aspect to the speculation is that Google's Cardboard was the most shipped VR hardware of 2016. The Google Cardboard platform started the search giant began its VR journey back over two years ago before giving way to the company's Daydream View headset last year. Both of those prior devices were completely dependent on a smartphone inserted into the headset, but Daydream was a huge step up in terms of quality and usability. So the company has pretty good reasons to continue its quest for technologies to do with both the virtual and the augmented. Unfortunately at this point – and as will likely remain the case until the minds behind the most popular mobile OS in the world decide to provide something more official – well-informed guesses are the only statements that can be made.