Facebook Poaches Google’s Regina Dugan and Bets Big on Creating Devices

Will spend 'hundreds of millions of dollars'

Facebook announced a major hiring coup Wednesday: It has poached Regina Dugan from Google, and she's set to lead a team that's developing futuristic devices for the social platform. 

The innovator made a name for herself at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), part of the U.S. Department of Defense, for a few years before joining Google in 2012. There, Dugan logged time in the tech giant's ATAP lab, which is short for Advanced Technologies and Projects, leading a team that looked to revolutionize wearable technology, smartphones and other devices.  

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg introduced Dugan with a blog post, explaining she'll lead a new innovation team called Building 8. He said he's looked forward to her DARPA-style methodology, "characterized by aggressive, fixed timelines, extensive use of partnerships with universities, small and large businesses, and clear objectives for shipping products at scale."

He added, "We'll be investing hundreds of people and hundreds of millions of dollars into this effort over time."

Dugan said she's excited about the challenge and "there's much to build at Facebook." The new Building 8 team "is an opportunity to do what I love most," she wrote in a blog post. "Audacious science delivered at scale in products that feel almost magic. A little badass. And beautiful."

The announcement comes as Facebook hosts its ninth annual F8 developers conference. At F8, the social media giant has shown it's undoubtedly serious about making virtual reality products, drones, new-age cameras, planes, satellites and chatbots. Dugan looks to be a big—and likely expensive—recruit to further those initiatives.