Xiaomi’s former global vice-president Hugo Barra, who had announced his departure from the company earlier this week, will be heading Facebook’s VR team, according to an announcement from CEO Mark Zuckerberg. The Facebook founder posted on his page about Barra joining the company’s VR team.
“I’m excited that Hugo Barra is joining Facebook to lead all of our virtual reality efforts, including our Oculus team. Hugo’s in China right now, so here we are together in VR. It seems fitting,” wrote Zuckerberg and shared a picture of the two of them in a VR/AR kind of style.
In December, Brendan Iribe who was the chief executive of Facebook’s Oculus had stepped down from the company. At the time of the announcement, Reuters had reported that Iribe had said he would work with Facebook Chief Technology Officer Mike Schroepfer to find a new leader for Oculus. But based on Zuckerberg’s announcement it looks like Barra will have a wider role than just Oculus.
The Facebook founder’s post adds, “I’ve known Hugo for a long time, starting when he helped develop the Android operating system, to the last few years he’s worked at Xiaomi in Beijing bringing innovative devices to millions of people. Hugo shares my belief that virtual and augmented reality will be the next major computing platform. They’ll enable us to experience completely new things and be more creative than ever before. Hugo is going to help build that future, and I’m looking forward to having him on our team.” The emphasis on augmented reality will be interesting to watch in the future.
Barra also commented on the post saying, “Thanks, Mark! I can’t wait to get started in building that future and join the team soon. It’s been a dream of mine to work in virtual reality even back when AR/VR were just figments of science fiction; now we’re taking selfies in virtual worlds.”
His comment adds, “Really looking forward to doing just that at Facebook — taking VR mainstream — working with you, Brendan, Mike Schroepfer, and the Oculus team!”
Hugo Barra when he announced his resignation at Xiaomi had said he would be heading back to Silicon Valley, although he will continue to be an advisor to Xiaomi indefinitely.
In his Facebook post, Barra had written, “But what I’ve realized is that the last few years of living in such a singular environment have taken a huge toll on my life and started affecting my health. My friends, what I consider to be my home, and my life are back in Silicon Valley, which is also much closer to my family. Seeing how much I’ve left behind these past few years, it is clear to me that the time has come to return.”
Xiaomi has announced that senior vice-president Xiang Wang will now lead the global expansion efforts for 2017.