Meta loses AR glasses product manager - second major departure
Meta loses another key AR executive. This could delay the development of Meta's AR glasses.
Nikhil Chandhok announced his departure this week via Twitter. His new job is product manager at crypto payment service Circle.
Chandhok has a remarkable career path. After his first three years at Microsoft, he moved to Google in 2005, where he was instrumental in the success of YouTube. In 2014, Chandhok founded the AI startup Bento. Two years later, he moved back to Google, where he was AR product head for two years.
In 2018, he followed that with a stint at Facebook, where he worked in a senior role on the augmented reality platform Spark AR and the AR glasses project. In early 2021, he was promoted to head of product, responsible only for AR glasses, or more precisely, their hardware and software.
Chandhok prefers crypto to augmented reality
With his team, Chandhok developed and launched the Ray-Ban Stories data glasses in September 2021 (see article image), which do not have an AR display built in, but are considered the first step toward full-fledged AR glasses suitable for everyday use. They are currently being developed under the codename Nazare and are expected to be released "in a few years".
Chandhok says the reason for his move is that he has been interested in crypto for nearly a decade and wanted to combine his passion with his work. He describes his four AR years at Meta as "successful."
? Huge day! After 4 successful years launching groundbreaking AR products at @Meta
, I have decided to move on. Very grateful to the teams and leadership at Meta 1/
- Nikhil Chandhok (@chandhok) February 22, 2022
OS chief developer Marc Lucovsky moves to Google
For Meta, this is the second departure of a high-ranking AR executive within a few months: In December, Marc Lucovsky left Meta for Google. Lucovsky led the development of Meta's XR operating system, a project that was reportedly halted after Lucovsky announced he was leaving the company.
If the rumors turn out to be true, it would likely be a major setback for Meta's AR plans, as this is a prestigious project that is crucial to the success of Meta's Metaverse strategy. The fact that the AR product lead is now leaving as well could further delay Nazare's development. A concrete schedule for Meta's AR glasses is not known.
Meta does not have a staff shortage: The VR and department called Reality Labs employs well over 10,000 people and has recently aggressively poached specialists from Apple and Microsoft. But finding replacements for capable executives who have built and led teams over time isn't easy.