Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) is working on new wearable technology and is hiring experts from the Internet based retailer Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) to start the project. The new group will work on Project Aura and experts from the retailer are said to be from Lab126, where Amazon comes up with its devices.
Some say Project Aura got started four months ago and is looking at reviving Google Glass. The group will also work on other wearable technology.
Project Aura will stay with Google rather than being a separate company under the new Alphabet holding company or being introduced into the Nest smart appliances business, according to a source that spoke with Business Insider.
According to the source, Nest CEO Tony Fadell will continue to help in the project, though no one knows what will happen if Nest becomes a separate Alphabet company. Tony Fadell will be joined by Ivy Ross, a fashion industry veteran who the search giant hired to lead the Glass team last year.
Google has brought in at least three employees from Amazon’s Lab126 to work on the new project and is still recruiting. Job listings seen by Business Insider describe the new project as Google Glass and Beyond. Project Aura has nothing to do with Project Ara by the way, that one just works on affordable phones that can be easily taken apart.
The new group means change for the Glass, which was not well received. The new talent also means the search giant will work on wearable technology to compete against other giants.
Cardboard and Soli
With the decision to remain with Google, Project Aura will be able to help out in other advanced technology efforts such as Cardboard, which turns regular smartphones into virtual reality devices with a cardboard headset, and Soli, which is a system that identifies subtle finger movements using radar built into tiny microchips.
While virtual reality is still growing and catching people’s attention, the source said it is too soon to know whether the new project will focus on VR.
Business Insider was the first to spot Google job postings, which indicated the search giant was planning on working on a new project, but the existence of Project Aura and its new talent had not been mentioned and surfaced just a few hours ago.
Google said it was done selling the $1,500 version of Glass a few months back. This after tech experts criticized the technology for not having much use and coming with a big price tag. Google is still selling the head mounted device to businesses.
Dima Svetlov was one of the first to join Google from Amazon, after working on the retailer’s TV streaming stick, she joined in May. Amir Frenke joined a month later as director of software development. The third is Tina Chen, who left Lab126 after working on the retailer’s streaming box and Echo last month. She is now Aura’s manager of technical program management.
Lab126, which is known for making great devices for Amazon, recently let go of many engineers who worked on the Fire smartphone. The Fire phone was not well received and is no longer being sold after numerous price cuts.