Sign up to receive our
daily summary of tech news for free.

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

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.

Get access to exclusive coverage
Read deeply reported stories from the largest newsroom in tech.
Latest Articles
 
The Briefing
China’s Market Rally, Twitter’s Latest Subscription Idea: The Information’s Tech Briefing

If you’re wondering why U.S. stocks keep going up—the Nasdaq rose another 1% on Wednesday—one likely influence is China’s stock market. The Shanghai Composite Index has jumped 15% since the end of June, taking it to its highest level since early 2018. Numerous commentators are warning the rally makes no sense, given profit growth.

U.S. market watchers are used to a ...

Latest Briefs
 
Cisco Switches Leaders in Zoom-Rival Webex Unit
Slack Acquires Startup Founded by Ex-Facebook Employees
Google Abandons Cloud Plan for China, Other Markets
Stay in the know
Receive a summary of the day's top tech news—distilled into one email.
Access on the go
View stories on our mobile app and tune into our weekly podcast.
Join live video Q&A’s
Deep-dive into topics like startups and autonomous vehicles with our top reporters and other executives.
Enjoy a clutter-free experience
Read without any banner ads.
Exclusive Uber/Lyft Asia
Uber CEO Wants to Shift More Engineering Jobs to India, Sparking Internal Debate
Since Dara Khosrowshahi became CEO of Uber in 2017, he has been steadily pushing his engineering team to move jobs to India as a way of saving money.
Exclusive Economy COVID-19
Under Armour Seeks Buyer for MyFitnessPal App
A few years ago, Under Armour made a splashy entrance into the burgeoning market for digital fitness apps with a series of acquisitions.
Exclusive Media/Telecom Entertainment
Microsoft Expresses Interest in Acquiring Warner Game Unit
Microsoft has expressed interest in acquiring the games division of Warner Bros., the publisher behind popular game franchises based on Batman, Harry Potter and other characters, according to two people familiar with the situation.
The Briefing
Lemonade’s IPO Lesson: The Information’s Tech Briefing
Next time a venture capitalist like Bill Gurley complains about the IPO process, expect them to use Lemonade’s IPO as Exhibit A.
The Takeaway Venture Capital
The Tech and Media Culture War That Isn’t
Reporters, tech investors and executives like to think they are at the center of the world. And this week, based on conversations on Twitter, it briefly felt like they were.
The Briefing Uber/Lyft
Why Uber’s Postmates Deal Doesn’t Deserve Celebration: The Information’s Tech Briefing
Uber's 6% stock price rise on Monday suggests investors like the company's $2.65 billion acquisition of Postmates.