Amit Singh, who hopped from Oracle to Google about six years ago to help establish its Google for Work cloud tech, is now jumping to the company’s new virtual-reality team.
It’s another sign that Google is getting serious about virtual reality and won’t cede the market to Facebook’s Oculus without a fight.
Singh’s main claim to fame inside Google was turning Google Apps into a major competitor to Microsoft Office, building out a professional enterprise sales team as well as operations and support.
He also helped Google turn its Chromebooks into a real business, and he was key in helping Google commit itself to cloud computing. Cloud has now become one of the company’s biggest internal pushes.
He will become a vice president of business and operations for Google’s young VR team, which is led by Clay Bavor. This includes Google Cardboard, a piece of cardboard you put over your phone to turn it into a VR device. It started out as more or less a joke in 2014, but has now become a real thing. In January, the company said that it shipped 5 million units of the Google Cardboard viewer.
The team also manages projects like Google’s amazing Jump 360 cameras for filming in 3-D, Tilt Brush for painting and creating graphics in 3-D, and other undisclosed projects. It does not include Glass, Google’s augmented reality glasses.
Singh is known as an operations guy, someone who takes early-stage stuff and turns them into real businesses, with business models, sales support, and what have you. So his move could signify that Google is ready to start turning Cardboard and other VR technologies into a real business.
It’s also worth pointing out that Google had recently hired a new boss over Singh: Diane Greene. She came in in a sort of CEO role for a new combined cloud unit, which included Amit’s team — sales and operations for Google for Work — as well as the engineering, product, and sales teams for its cloud-computing services.
We’re told that Singh’s role is not going away and Greene is actively looking for his replacement. The formal reason for the change of jobs is that Singh loves early-stage technology and was looking for a new challenge.