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Facebook poaches Google ATAP head to build hardware

Facebook wants to build hardware, and it’s roped in a former Google bigwig to help it do so.

Regina Dugan used to head up the Advanced Technologies and Projects Group at Google, and was responsible for overseeing the developments of such ambitious hardware projects as the Project Ara modular smartphone and the Project Tango spatially aware tablet. She also used to work for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (Darpa).

Now Facebook has poached Dugan to head up its new Building 8 hardware arm. We don’t know exactly what she’ll be working on, but Facebook says that it will involve “new hardware products to advance our mission of connecting the world.”

Mark Zuckerberg referenced Dugan’s previous work when he wrote: “I’m excited to have Regina apply Darpa-style breakthrough development at the intersection of science and products to our mission.”

Dugan says that joining Building 8 will enable here to do what she loves most: “tech infused with a sense of our humanity.”

She also describes the projects she will be working on at Facebook as “Audacious science delivered at scale in products that feel almost magic. A little badass. And beautiful.”

So probably not a Facebook Like-activated coffee machine, then.

Google, meanwhile, issued the following polite statement about the move: “We thank Regina Dugan for all her leadership and contributions as part of the Advanced Technology and Projects group, and wish her the very best.”

Related: 13 products we’re looking forward to in 2016

Back in Google ATAP land, we’re hoping to hear more about the experimental team’s work at Google I/O in about a month’s time.


In particular, things appear to be stirring on the Project Ara front. Hopefully we’ll learn about the next phase for Google’s much-anticipated modular smartphone concept.

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