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In a fresh blow to Google's embattled augmented and mixed reality department, Mark Lucovsky, the head of operating system and software platforms for these emerging technologies, has stepped down. Lucovsky, a seasoned engineering professional, shared his decision to leave the tech behemoth via a tweet, sparking questions about the future direction of Google's AR and XR endeavors.

In his farewell note, Lucovsky mentioned his disillusionment with Google's apparent vacillations in strategic vision and management for AR and XR. He stated, "The recent shifts in the AR leadership and Google’s inconsistent commitment and vision have significantly influenced my decision to step down." While Lucovsky refrained from naming the specific management changes, it's probable he was alluding to the recent departure of Clay Bavor, the chief of Google's XR work since 2015, who exited the company in March this year.

Google's journey in the world of augmented reality has been far from smooth. The tech titan was an early adopter of AR, launching the ambitious Google Glass in 2013. However, after several iterations and a shifting focus between consumer and enterprise markets, the project eventually met with discontinuation. The company was reportedly working on a new AR venture dubbed 'Project Iris,' but the project was shelved amid a series of company-wide layoffs.

An insider report indicated a shift in Google's AR strategy, with the company now focusing on "developing software platforms for AR that could be licensed to other manufacturers developing headsets." Google's Android-based XR platform is one such example, with Samsung poised to utilize it in a forthcoming product. The details of this collaboration were to be unveiled at Google's I/O conference, with further information promised before 2024.

The tumultuous atmosphere and frequent changes within Google's AR department may have caused professionals like Lucovsky to reconsider their position. Lucovsky boasts an impressive career in operating systems, including significant work on Windows NT in the 90s. His previous stint at Meta (formerly Facebook), as the lead for the company's augmented reality OS, ended amidst ethical controversies in 2021. His tenure at Google, in contrast, was notably short-lived.

Looking forward, Lucovsky expressed enthusiasm about the future and his desire to push the boundaries of AR technology in conjunction with generative AI. While he remains tight-lipped about his next steps, his experience and expertise suggest that he won't be without opportunities.

Even as Google appears to be grappling with its AR direction, other players in the industry are making substantial investments. Meta remains steadily focused on XR. Apple, on the other hand, is preparing to release Vision Pro and visionOS to consumers next year, signalling its long-term commitment to AR. Start-ups backed by venture capital, as well as tech giants like Microsoft and Amazon, are actively pursuing their AR projects, indicating a vibrant, competitive landscape in the augmented reality space.


La Shon Y. Fleming Bruce a/k/a SHONSPEAKS is a blogger, thought leader, mental wealth coach for those ready to break the chains of a poverty mindset caused by religious, social and political ideologies, a certified brain health specialist, a speaker, and lead creator of    I am also a lawyer and managing member of The Fleming-Bruce Law Firm, P.L.L.C. whose practice areas focus on divorce, custody, probate, car accidents, and bankruptcy.


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