Google first started its venture into virtual reality with Google Cardboard back in 2014. Since then we’ve seen the company’s ambitions in VR and AR continue to grow with the introduction and launch of the Daydream headsets in 2016, and new standalone Daydream headsets coming later this year. A look at the company’s job listings so far this year reveals Google’s expanding commitment and investment in VR and AR.

Google is continuing to grow its AR and VR teams and shows no signs of stopping any time soon. Road to VR has assembled data showing that so far in 2017 the company has listed an average of six new job postings per month—either explicitly for the AR/VR team, or in tangential roles—totalling 49 new listings in the first eight months of the year.

March has seen the highest number of listings so far this year (10), with February trailing closely behind (9). Those two peak months were not long before the company announced in May the next major initiative of its Daydream VR program: standalone Daydream headsets soon to come from HTC and Lenovo. New job listings have peaked again this month, with nine new job listings and a little more than a week left in the month.

Hands-on: Google's Standalone Daydream Headset Prototype with WorldSense Tracking

It isn’t just the job numbers that tell an interesting story, but also the contents of the listings. Of particular interest, In March, Google listed five new jobs seeking ‘Daydream AR/VR Business Program Managers’ based in major tech hubs of Southeastern Asia, hinting that the company plans to make big moves in the region where VR is seeing some of its most broad adoption.

Google is creating an infrastructure to coordinate AR and VR business operations in Beijing, Shanghai, Taipei, Hong Kong, and Singapore

If Google’s hiring trend seen so far in 2017 continues, the company should add about 73 new AR/VR job listings over the course of the year. As the company fills those roles, it represents millions in additional investment into AR and VR activities in salaries alone, not counting other costs relating to product development and deployment, or existing members of the AR/VR team, which we expect is at least as big as the number of new job listings to far this year.

Though Google has already announced their work on standalone Daydream headsets, their continued hiring suggests they have big plans yet in store for AR and VR, and are preparing for increasing momentum in the sector.

Apple's Job Listings Seek 'VR File Format Engineer', 'VR Pipeline Engineer', & More

The job listings alone are likely unrepresentative of the total growth of Google’s AR/VR team as they fail to account for both internal recruitment and acquihires. For instance, Google tapped their existing VP of Product Management, Clay Bavor to head the VR team in the first place, and the company has acquired Skillman & Hackett, Thrive Audio, and Owlchemy Labs, specifically for AR/VR talent and tech.

When we asked recently how big the company’s AR/VR team is, Bavor artfully dodged, “big enough to do some really interesting things.”

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Ben is the world's most senior professional analyst solely dedicated to the XR industry, having founded Road to VR in 2011—a year before the Oculus Kickstarter sparked a resurgence that led to the modern XR landscape. He has authored more than 3,000 articles chronicling the evolution of the XR industry over more than a decade. With that unique perspective, Ben has been consistently recognized as one of the most influential voices in XR, giving keynotes and joining panel and podcast discussions at key industry events. He is a self-described "journalist and analyst, not evangelist."
  • Ted Joseph

    I am happy that Google is moving full speed on the AR/VR front, but I have been underwhelmed so far. I have an oculus rift, and a google daydream (recently purchased). I used the daydream for a few hours, and haven’t touched it since. Before I get hammered, I UNDERSTAND that the daydream is not supposed to be a direct competitor to the Rift, and more of a competitor towards the gear. My point is, unless Google establishes a strong VR platform, they will be left in the dust… Same with apple..

    • RFC_VR

      Their platform is good, but the current consumer HMD has some flaws, and a small installed user base (unlike cardboard which worked with pretty much any smartphone) and the phones get a little “toasty” during VR.

      Standalone HMD’s will be interesting to see what can be done without the packaging shackles of a smartphone, price will be critical as Daydream View at £69 is a no brainer for a Pixel owner on a 2 year cell phone contract.

      Buying a standalone at similar price to Pixel phone, in addition to smartphone contract, maybe a hard sell? Interesting times…

    • Master E

      TJoseph I think you’re right… phone and anything less than PSVR, Vive or Rift is lackluster, but like everything else, phone tech is going to get more and more powerful. If these companies like Google, Facebook, and Apple are hard at work it’ll just mean better products and sooner.

      When a company like FB pledges $500 million into its VR development I don’t think they plan on giving up for a while.

      Apples iOS 11 is supposed to set the stage for turning every device from the iPhone 6 (or something like that) on into a AR capabale device.

      They will single handedly have the largest potential market for AR in one update and things will only get better.

  • MosBen

    I’m in the market for a new phone, and the wife and I are considering switching to Google Fi. I was really hoping that the new Pixel phones would be a significant upgrade for mobile VR, but from the rumors that I’ve seen they look like minor incremental updates to last year’s phone. I’m not nearly the VR purist that some on this site are: I have a Rift with a pretty beefy PC, but I don’t think that that level of graphical fidelity is essential to having a compelling VR experience. Positional tracking is the real handicap for mobile VR right now, and while I would love things like a greater FOV, better graphics, etc., I feel like the first company that puts out a mobile product that really allows people to move around with trackable hands will be a huge leap for the market.

    • RFC_VR

      new Pixel have Snapdragon 836 SOC, old Pixel were 821.

      Useful increase in compute power, but if designed to be slotted into existing Daydream View HMD, then no move to positional tracking?

      New Standalone HMD’s from partners use 835 VR and Worldsense ‘inside-out’ positional tracking.

      Interested to see if a Daydream View 2 is released with a Worldsense module linked to phone?

      Or at least a XL version (like Samsung for new Note) as the limited FOV on View is a result of having to cater for the smaller Pixel phone too. There’s a lot of wasted screen real estate on XL with current View.

  • K E

    It is incredibly impressive what Google has accomplished in the field of VR so far. It’s stunning, they managed to copy the GearVR and develop a controller with the EXACT same functionality as the controller that came with the Wii 11 years ago. AND they did this in only two years with only 200 Ivy League computer science graduates. This is really the Chosen company that will take us to the singularity in no time.

  • guest

    As opposed to: too small to do some really interesting things?