With the VR boom steadily inching forward on the horizon, search titan Google has reportedly made plans to enter the new arena with its very own consumer-grade virtual reality hardware. A few new job listings suggest that Google wants to bolster its not-so-secret virtual reality division with key talent, and has even recruited ex-Vine exec Jason Toff to work on VR.
Google Cardboard isn't on anyone's minds when VR is mentioned; instead it's all about the Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, or the PlayStation VR. Even Samsung's Gear VR headset beats the no-frills Cardboard. It looks like Google wants to change all that and become a leading competitor with its own mass-produced VR hardware. Google has posted a few recent job listings that give clues about the division itself.
According to RoadtoVR, the company is looking for a whole manner of VR specialists, including a Hardware Engineering Technical Lead Manager, an Engineer Project Specialist, an Electrical Hardware Engineer, and a PCB Layout Engineer.
The company has already snapped ex-Vine boss Jason Toff to work on the virtual reality division. Toff left the social media giant after key execs were shuffled around.
Personal update! I'm joining Google to work on VR. So much exciting potential there.— Jason Toff (@jasontoff) January 25, 2016
Remember that Google has partnered up with the mysterious Augmented Reality firm Magic Leap, so Google's VR headset--if it is a headset--might unify both VR and AR to do some pretty amazing things. MagicLeap uses holograms to blend real-life with simulated AR with tech called a "Dynamic Digitized Lightfield", which are then perceived by wearers of the headset.
Now that YouTube supports VR/360-degree video playback, Google has a nice crop of content software to go hand-in-hand with its own VR headset. I can't help but wonder what kinds of amazing tech that Google will cook up in its behind-the-scenes labs, especially with the help of Magic Leap AR.
Personally, I don't think Google's VR hardware will be gaming-focused like the Oculus Rift or Vive VR, and may instead push towards more unique, dynamic experiences.