Facebook Hires New VR Chief

Facebook has a new virtual reality guru.

The social networking firm has hired Xiaomi executive Hugo Barra to head up the company’s virtual reality efforts, including its Oculus team.

“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,” Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a post on his Facebook page.

Hugo Barra

Hugo Barra

“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.”

Bara, who currently lives in China, will be joining Facebook as vice-president of virtual reality in the next few months. The 40-year-old computer scientist and tech executive got his start with Google in 2008 as group product manager for the Google Mobile team in London, England. He joined the Android team in 2010 and, three years later, left Google for  Xiaomi to join the Chinese company’s senior management team as its vice-president of international.

Bara, in a Facebook post, said he is “excited to share my next adventure as I return to Silicon Valley.”

“Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun always says that the highest calling of an engineer is to make technology breakthroughs quickly and readily available to the widest possible spectrum of humanity,” he posted. “That will be my mission at Facebook and I look forward to building the future of immersive technology with Mark Zuckerberg, Brendan Trexler Iribe, Mike Schroepfer, and the visionaries in the Oculus team.”

Facebook purchased Oculus VR for $ 2 billion in July 2014. The social media firm doled out $ 400 million in cash and 23.1 million shares of Facebook common stock, which was worth $ 1.6 billion.

Oculus first gave a demonstration of the Oculus Rift prototype at the Electronic Entertainment Expo in June 2012. Since then, its invention has generated a lot of interest. Oculus’ virtual reality headset, Rift, began shipping to customers last year. Rift is a virtual reality system that immerses the user inside virtual worlds.


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Jennifer Cowan is the Managing Editor for SiteProNews.

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