Google job postings, new hires point to serious interest in VR hardware

There’s a fair chance that you may be starting to get sick hearing about VR-this and VR-that all the time, but you’ve just got to open your mind a little. After all, while it was easy to talk big about VR in years past, in 2016 we’re finally seeing things go commercial in a really big way, connecting the dots between stuff like basic Google Cardboard viewers and the really immersive 3D worlds that once only seemed possible in sci-fi fantasies. As such, it’s only logical that Google appears to be paying more and more attention to the burgeoning market, as we saw earlier this month when we got word that the company was creating a new VP position focused solely on VR. Now the full scope of Google’s VR ambitions continues to come into focus, as we learn a little more about its hardware plans thanks to a job posting, and see it recruit even more big talent for VR development.

Google recently posted a job listing for a Hardware Engineering Technical Lead Manager, looking for someone to help the company develop “high-performance, battery powered, highly constrained consumer electronics products.” While Google’s since edited the listing to give it a generic “Consumer Hardware” banner, it was originally subtitled “Virtual Reality.” The focus on hardware here makes it clear that Google’s thinking about VR products that really stretch beyond Google Cardboard, and it’s conceivable that Google could be interested in a much more feature-rich VR headset – though if that’s closer to the Gear VR, or an Oculus Rift, we just don’t know yet.

Some other news comes to us courtesy of Vine’s Jason Toff, who’s leaving after two years to head (back) to Google and work on VR projects. That’s one pretty high-profile get for Google’s growing VR staff, and suggests interests that extend just as far into software as they do hardware.

What Google’s end game is here, we can’t yet say, but with all these staff resources the company’s directing to virtual reality development, we’ve got to believe that something big is coming in the future. We already speculated that we might get our first taste of just what that spells at Google I/O in late May, and now with this growing series of new hires, we’re all the more curious to get a preview of where things are headed.