News: Google Signals Smartglasses Ramp Up via Job Postings for Waveguides & Other AR Disciplines

Google Signals Smartglasses Ramp Up via Job Postings for Waveguides & Other AR Disciplines

For better or for worse, Google started the race towards smartglasses for everyday use with Google Glass before scrapping the Explorer Edition and pivoting towards enterprise customers.

Now, with Apple, Facebook, Snap, and even Pokémon GO maker Niantic working toward consumer-grade smartglasses, Google is conspicuously absent, either in rumor or public disclosure.

But that might be changing, as recent job postings suggest that Google is shoring up its hardware resources for AR wearables.

The company currently has 18 open positions for jobs in augmented reality, many posted within the last month and a few posted in just the last few days. This list of new AR-focused roles includes at least one position recently reposted on LinkedIn, signaling some urgency to get the AR jobs filled.

After Google acquired North, it scrapped plans for second-generation Focals smartglasses. Image by North/YouTube

Most of the positions are for engineering and development of waveguides, while other positions involve roles for opto-electrical work, which focuses more on verifying optical safety.

In addition, eight of these job openings are based out of Google's Waterloo, Ontario office in Canada. This is the same office where Google integrated employees from consumer smartglasses maker North after Google acquired the startup last year and then scrapped plans for second-generation Focals smartglasses. Among these waveguide openings is a waveguide research and development manager for augmented reality.

"As a Waveguide Research & Development Manager you will build and lead a team that will be developing waveguides. It involves managing a team of engineers, delivering subcomponents for a consumer electronics product, and supporting research teams with component designs for future products," reads the job description.

Another interesting opening among the augmented reality jobs is technical program manager for augmented reality operating systems.

"We are building a highly optimized operating system to run on custom developed hardware, and we need a technical program manager to drive our strategy, roadmap and implementation. You will help shape the OS from the ground up, leveraging your experience to ensure that every layer of the stack is scoped, specified, resourced, and built to very demanding constraints," reads the job description. "This is a very unique role at Google, and an opportunity for you to have immense impact on the future of immersive technology."

Based on the language in the job descriptions, all signs point to Google looking to get back into consumer-grade smartglasses, so now we have another horse to watch closely in this AR race.

Cover image via North/YouTube

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