Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

Instant Analysis: Facebook Inc. Hires Google Moonshot Exec

By Leo Sun - Apr 25, 2016 at 1:42PM

You’re reading a free article with opinions that may differ from The Motley Fool’s Premium Investing Services. Become a Motley Fool member today to get instant access to our top analyst recommendations, in-depth research, investing resources, and more. Learn More

The social networking giant just hired one of Google’s top AR minds.

Facebook (FB 1.39%) recently hired Regina Dugan, formerly Google VP of Advanced Technology and Projects (ATAP), to head a new hardware division called "Building 8." Facebook said that Dugan's department will research and develop technologies that "fluidly blend physical and digital worlds."

In a Facebook post, Dugan said Building 8 is "is an opportunity to do what I love most... tech infused with a sense of our humanity. Audacious science delivered at scale in products that feel almost magic." Prior to joining Google's ATAP team, Dugan was the Director of DARPA, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.

Regina Dugan. Image source: Google.

Is Facebook planning its own "moonshots"?
Alphabet's (GOOG 2.15%) (GOOGL 2.37%) "moonshot" are in its X and ATAP divisions. X includes self-driving cars, Wi-Fi weather balloons, drone deliveries, and other widely publicized moonshots. ATAP generally focuses on lower-key projects like the modular Project Ara smartphone and the Project Tango computer vision/augmented reality platform.

ATAP's focus on computer vision and AR suggests that Dugan will help develop new AR and VR technologies for Facebook. This would complement CEO Mark Zuckerberg's long-term goal of making Oculus a social platform within VR worlds. At the Vanity Fair New Establishment Summit in San Francisco last October, Zuckerberg confirmed that Facebook was developing an AR platform, but that it remained "a bit further out." Facebook also bought popular photo-manipulation app MSQRD earlier this year as an investment in AR-enhanced selfies.

How much should investors care?
Hiring a top tech mind like Dugan definitely helps Facebook and hurts Google, but it's unlikely to move the needle for either company in the near term, since both companies generate most of their revenue from advertising. But if AR and VR hardware and apps gain more mainstream traction over the next few years, hiring more experts like Dugan could help Facebook gain a technological edge against rivals like Google.

Invest Smarter with The Motley Fool

Join Over 1 Million Premium Members Receiving…

  • New Stock Picks Each Month
  • Detailed Analysis of Companies
  • Model Portfolios
  • Live Streaming During Market Hours
  • And Much More
Get Started Now

Stocks Mentioned

Meta Platforms, Inc. Stock Quote
Meta Platforms, Inc.
$196.23 (1.39%) $2.69
Alphabet Inc. Stock Quote
Alphabet Inc.
$2,229.76 (2.37%) $51.60
Alphabet Inc. Stock Quote
Alphabet Inc.
$2,233.33 (2.15%) $47.07

*Average returns of all recommendations since inception. Cost basis and return based on previous market day close.

Related Articles

Motley Fool Returns

Motley Fool Stock Advisor

Market-beating stocks from our award-winning service.

Stock Advisor Returns
S&P 500 Returns

Calculated by average return of all stock recommendations since inception of the Stock Advisor service in February of 2002. Returns as of 05/23/2022.

Discounted offers are only available to new members. Stock Advisor list price is $199 per year.

Premium Investing Services

Invest better with The Motley Fool. Get stock recommendations, portfolio guidance, and more from The Motley Fool's premium services.