When former Google exec, and now former Xiaomi exec, Hugo Barra made public his departure from the Chinese company, he didn’t talk much about where he’s heading to next. Usually those are kept under wraps until the new employer has given the green light. Consider that green light lit, as said new employer itself made the matter public. Straight from the horse’s, er, Mark Zuckerberg’s mouth, Huga Barra is joining Facebook as VP not of its mobile efforts but of its virtual reality thrust. And yes, that includes Oculus.
It might be a strange direction for someone whose name has been largely associated with smartphones and mobile devices at large. Then again, it might be a refreshing change as well. Zuckerberg does assure the pubic that Barra believes in that same vision that virtual as well as augmented reality is the future of computing.
And so Barra will be leading Facebook’s VR projects, both those that relate directly to the social network as well as its Oculus property. Given the latter, the timing is curious since Oculus and Facebook are currently facing a lawsuit from game publisher Bethesda Softworks exactly over VR technology. Suffice it to say, Barra will have his hands full when he comes into office. For now, however, he’s still safe, far away in China, hence the VR meeting between Zuckerberg and Barra above.
So Facebook will task Hugo Barra with bringing its future vision of new creative and, of course, social experiences. Hopefully, no one will call him to task for not bringing Xiaomi’s smartphones to the US during his three-year stint there.