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Clay Bavor, the head of virtual and augmented reality at Google. Photo by Bloomberg

As Apple and Facebook Embrace AR Fully, Google Takes It Slow

Photo: Clay Bavor, the head of virtual and augmented reality at Google. Photo by Bloomberg

The leaders of Apple and Facebook have each described augmented reality as the next big thing in tech. Google, though, still seems to be figuring out its AR plans.

In 2017, after Apple’s release of a software kit for building primitive AR experiences for mobile phones caught Google off guard, the company made an all-out sprint to match Apple’s effort. The scramble, along with Google’s subsequent shelving of many of its virtual reality projects, left members of the company’s AR and VR team demoralized about its shifting direction, three former employees from the group told The Information. 

Despite the rush to catch up, Google appears to be lagging behind its peers in building new forms of AR hardware. For instance, while Apple and Facebook both have ambitious projects underway to create AR glasses, former members of Google’s AR team said the company wasn’t working on a comparable effort as recently as the middle of last year.

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