Google Labs Returns With Futuristic AR, VR Focus

Google Labs is back, the company confirmed, but this time around it’s the internal name given to a new team created under a reorganization that aims to gather the company’s innovative projects and long-term bets under one roof.

“Clay Bavor has taken on an expanded role,” a Google spokesperson wrote in an email to Search & Performance Marketing Daily. “His work will focus on long-term technology projects that are in direct support of our core products and businesses.”

At one point, Google referred to Labs as a consumer-facing brand with experimental products. Bavor reports directly to Google CEO Sundar Pichai.

The new group -- mostly focused on AR and VR -- is referred to as Starline, its in-house incubator called Area 120, as well as any other long-term projects with potential.

Starline relied on computer vision, machine learning, spatial audio, and real-time compression. There is also a light-field display system creating a sense of volume and depth that can be experienced without the need for additional glasses or headsets.

Google Labs between 2002 and 2011 produced products like Personalized Web Search, Google Web Alerts, Google Docs and Spreadsheets, Google Reader, Google Shopper (now Google Shopping), Aardvark, a Lens precursor called Google Goggles, Gesture Search for Android, iGoogle, Google Maps, Google Transit, Google Video, Google Talk, Google Trends, Google Scholar, Google Code Search, Google Suggest, Google Groups, and others that eventually became core Google products and services, according to TechCrunch.

Google has no plans to make Labs a public brand.

The reorganization and focus on AR and VR could see the company enter the metaverse space.

Bavor has spent 16 years at Google in various roles, such as vice president of product management leading design teams for many customer and enterprise apps like Gmail and Google Drive.  

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