Google Glass creator heads to Amazon

Babak Parviz, who led the development of Google Glass and other technologies at the Internet search-engine giant, confirms to CNET he left for Amazon.

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Google Glass. Google

Babak Parviz, a Google executive who led the development of the company's Glass wearable, has been hired by rival Amazon, a change that comes shortly after he stepped away as head of the Glass project.

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Babak Parviz Courtesy of University of Washington

Parviz confirmed the move to the e-retailer in an email to CNET, after he wrote about the change on his Google Plus social-media page over the weekend. He added that he departed from the Internet search-engine company Friday and already started at Amazon.

"The primary reason for the move is being excited about what we might accomplish at Amazon," he told CNET in an email.

An Amazon Web Services spokesperson confirmed the move, as well. A Google representative didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

The switch could be a signal of Amazon's continued interest in developing its own hardware, following up on this year's unveiling of the e-retailer's smartphone and a streaming-TV box, adding to its line of tablets and e-readers.

Parviz had a leading role in the development of some of Google's most ambitious projects. He ran the team behind the Google Glass headset until just a few weeks ago, and also headed up the effort behind a glucose-tracking contact lens, aimed at helping diabetics who need to prick themselves with needles to check their blood sugar levels. Parviz, who has a Ph.D. in electrical engineering from the University of Michigan, has been with Google since 2010.

Google's distinctive Glass gadget -- a tiny camera and screen perched on an eyeglass-like frame -- has been at the forefront of the new wave of wearable technology, along with smartwatches and fitness trackers, as tech giants try to answer the question of what mobile computing platforms will look like beyond laptops, tablets, and smartphones.

For its new top Google Glass executive, Google looked to the fashion world. In May, it appointed Ivy Ross, formerly the chief marketing officer at Art.com, who also previously worked for Calvin Klein, Coach, and Gap.

"Google Glass is one answer to that question," Parviz said last week at the Wearable Technologies Conference in San Francisco. "It's not necessarily the definitive answer."

Update 8:56 a.m. and 10:53 a.m. PT: Added background and further details.

 

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