Facebook poaches Google's advanced technology lead

Regina Dugan is leaving ATAP to work on 'breakthrough products.'

Barry Brecheisen/Invision for Park City Live/AP Images

Facebook just scored a big coup in its longstanding rivalry with Google. The company has hired Regina Dugan, Google's Advanced Technology Technology and Projects leader (think Ara and Tango), to lead a new team at the soon-to-be-built Building 8. Just what the former DARPA leader be doing there isn't evident, but she tells Forbes that her group will rely on "ambitious R&D" to make "breakthrough" hardware that leans on Facebook's technological skills. It'll be in sync with the ambitious 10-year roadmap Facebook unveiled at F8 on April 12th. There, the long-term goals included getting people connected, developing artificial intelligence and fostering wearable tech like virtual reality.

It's not certain what Google will do in the wake of this shift. The search giant is kind to Dugan, thanking her for "all her leadership," but it's hard to deny that this is a big blow to the ATAP team. For many, she was the core of the division -- its projects revolved around Dugan's long-serving strategies of both relying on scientific breakthroughs and pushing for tangible progress within a few years. Google may carry on with that strategy despite Dugan's absence, but it could have a tough time finding someone to fill her shoes.

I'm excited to announce that we've started a new group at Facebook called Building 8 focused on building new hardware...

Posted by Mark Zuckerberg on Wednesday, April 13, 2016