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Google taps ex-Motorola exec for new hardware group

From now on, everything from Google's Nexus smartphones to its not-yet-released new incarnation of Google Glass will be run by former Motorola President Rick Osterloh.

Google Glass has a new home.
Sarah Tew/CNET

Google wants you to buy more of its devices.

To get you to do that, the search giant is shaking up the way it runs its hardware business. Google is bringing all of its disparate devices, from its Nexus smartphones to its Chromecast streaming sticks, together under one group, the company confirmed. The division will be run by Rick Osterloh, the former president of Motorola. The news was reported earlier by Recode.

Other than Nexus and Chromecast, Osterloh's kingdom will contain Google Glass, the company's much-maligned smart eyewear. Google unveiled the device in 2012, but the public quickly recoiled because of privacy and piracy concerns. Osterloh will now oversee Project Aura, the group tasked with reimagining the product. The team for a while reported to Tony Fadell, CEO of the smart-home company Nest, owned by Google's parent company, Alphabet. Fadell will remain an advisor, but the team, and its leader Ivy Ross, will now report to Osterloh.

Other products in the group include: OnHub, Google's smart router, and a hub to control all of the Internet-connected devices in your house; Chromebooks, the company's laptops, which are powered by Google's Chrome OS software; and the Pixel C, Google's tablet with an attachable keyboard.

Osterloh will also oversee the Advanced Technology and Projects group, or ATAP, Google's home for out-there hardware experiments. Those include Project Ara, an effort to make phones with interchangeable components that snap together like Legos, and Project Jacquard, an initiative to develop Web-connected fabric.

The change comes after Facebook announced earlier this month that it poached ATAP's leader, Regina Dugan, to lead a new hardware lab of its own, called Building 8. Before Google, Dugan headed up DARPA, or the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, which develops emerging technology for the US military.