Business Insider today reported that Facebook has killed the Building 8 division with new, category-defining consumer hardware products. In April 2016, Facebook made headlines by poaching Regina Dugan to lead its new Building division. The social network wanted to create an experimental hardware group similar to what Google was doing with ATAP.
Building 8 is now dead due to hardware reorganization at Facebook. The model was similar to the Advanced Technology and Projects (ATAP) group that originated at Motorola, and was integrated into Google before the Lenovo sale. Its hardware team now lives under a new Portal organization, and its more experimental projects have been moved to Facebook Reality Labs.
Say hello to Portal!
Confirmed by Facebook today that current projects- moved to new divisions where development continues. Consumer hardware are now under the Portal division. The super-secretive organization inspired from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency dedicated to building “new, category-defining consumer hardware products.”
Meanwhile, the more experimental, long-term projects- part of the Facebook Reality Labs formed in May. This new division includes the Brain Computer Interface, haptics team, and robotic initiatives. With the launch, Building 8’s executives and hardware-focused teams transferred to a newly formed Portal team, leaving Building 8 shuttered.
Facebook says it is still working on many of the same projects with a different structure. In an email, Facebook spokesperson Lisa Auslen said: “Building 8 was the early name of the team building consumer hardware at Facebook. Building 8 is part of Facebook’s AR/VR organization. Now that we’re shipping, it’s the Portal team. And Rafa Camargo is still leading the team.”
Building 8: Finished.
Building 8’s official Careers page on Facebook’s website- killed. Some employees still advertise themselves on LinkedIn as working for Building 8. Also, there are still some open job advertisements for positions at Building 8. But this is because they haven’t been updated yet. On the other hand, Portal’s jobs page uses all its old photos.
Mark Zuckerberg wrote in a post, “We’ll be investing hundreds of people and hundreds of millions of dollars into this effort over the next few years. I’m excited to see breakthroughs on our 10 year roadmap in augmented and virtual reality, artificial intelligence, connectivity and other important areas.” Zuckerberg’s vision may still be in place, but the reshuffle means it’s playing out in a very different way.