Facebook gets a new virtual reality boss

Estimated read time 2 min read

To illustrate the message announcing the recruitment of Hugo Barra by Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg chose an image of a virtual meeting with his future collaborator. FACEBOOK

Facebook announced, on Wednesday, January 25, the recruitment of Hugo Barra, who until then led the international development of the Chinese phone manufacturer Xiaomi. The Brazilian, aged 40, and who had in a previous life presided over the destinies of Google’s Android program, will “lead all Facebook’s efforts in virtual reality, including the Oculus team,” explained Mark Zuckerberg, the boss of the world’s first social network on his personal page. “Hugo shares my belief that virtual and augmented reality will allow us to experiment with completely new things and be more creative than ever before,” he added.

In a response to this message, Hugo Barra announced that he would join the Palo Alto company “in a few months”. Two days earlier, he had announced his decision to leave his position as vice president of Xiaomi “for a new adventure” that was to bring him back to Silicon Valley. While stressing that he intended to take the time to breathe beforehand after three years spent mainly in China and India, which “began to affect [sa] health”.

At his annual conference for developers, in April 2016, Mark Zuckerberg established virtual reality and augmented reality as one of the three main axes of development of Facebook for the next ten years. “I think virtual reality has the potential to become the most social platform, because you really feel like you’re there with another person,” he had argued. As a sign of Facebook’s interest in this sector, the purchase of Oculus Rift for two billion dollars (1.86 billion euros) in 2014 gave rise to the commercial launch of the Oculus Rift headset and then the Oculus Touch controllers in 2016.

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