Google's AR Team Loses another Executive as it Seeks Partner for Glasses Project
The recent departure of Paul Greco, a prominent member of Google's augmented reality (AR) team, has raised questions about the company's efforts to find a partner for its AR glasses project. Analysts are closely watching to see how this will affect Google's plans for AR technology, particularly in wearable devices such as AR glasses. Despite this setback, many experts remain optimistic about the potential of AR glasses and believe that Google will continue to invest in this technology.
Paul Greco, a key figure in Google's augmented reality (AR) team, has left the company. Greco, formerly Magic Leap's chief technology officer, was developing new AR display technology at Google. His departure came when Google was in the process of finding a partner for its AR software platform.
"They are not taking a product approach," that person said. "They are building random devices to find a partner that can get excited."
Greco joined Google in 2021 and worked on Google's Project Starline before heading the hardware efforts on Iris, the company's ill-fated smart glasses. However, the Iris project was terminated last year partly because Google decided to focus on a new partnership with Samsung for a mixed-reality headset akin to Apple's Vision Pro. This new project is codenamed Moohan.
The Aftermath of Iris and the Birth of Moohan
Following the cessation of Iris, Greco was moved to a new team tasked with developing products using technology from AR display company Raxium, which Google acquired in 2022. According to insiders, Greco's team was isolated from other AR efforts within Google. Samsung, in particular, did not want other AR teams at Google to have access to the Moohan technology.
Despite Google's shift in focus to Moohan, the company still envisions a future for AR glasses. However, Google's approach is more akin to its Android strategy. Instead of manufacturing the glasses, Google intends to build a software operating system to license hardware partners. This decision aligns with the company's broader strategy of focusing on software instead of hardware.
Google's Search for a Partner
Google is reportedly building multiple internal glasses prototypes, codenamed Betty and Barry, to showcase its new software platform to potential partners. The company is also exploring different types of AR glasses to present to potential partners.
Google sees the upcoming CES technology trade show in Las Vegas as a prime opportunity to attract a partner for its AR glasses project. There's also a possibility that Samsung might collaborate with Google on these glasses in addition to Moohan. This could potentially lead to an exclusive deal.
On a related note, Qualcomm recently announced a new chip that Google and Samsung plan to use in their devices, which will likely include Moohan.