Google Glass Gets Serious With Marketing Exec to Lead Division

Ivy Ross, A Veteran Retail and Art Veteran, Joins From

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The colossus of search is moving further along its path to becoming a force in consumer marketing. In a Google+ post last night, Google said it had hired Ivy Ross, the CMO of online marketplace, to head its Google Glass division.

Astro Teller, the head of Google X Lab, has been overseeing operations for Glass. Ms. Ross steps into a newly created role devoted to lead the headware division.

Ms. Ross previously served as the executive VP-marketing for Gap and as chief creative officer for The Disney Store. She also led design and development at Old Navy and Mattel.

"I have spent my career--Calvin Klein, Swatch, Coach, Mattel, Bausch & Lomb, Gap and, most recently, the intersection of design and marketing, trying to answer questions like this in different ways, for different products," Ms. Ross wrote in the Google+ post. "But Glass is especially cool, as no one has really tried to answer them with a product like this before."

Since Google Glass entered limited release in 2012, the computerized headwear has largely been wielded by Google executives and small handfuls of zealous programmers. It remains associated with tech enthusiasts, not high fashion or mass-market retail.

But Google would like to shake that reputation. On April 15, the company held a one-day online sale of Glass, which sold for $1,500, accompanied with a short YouTube ad. Earlier, Google launched a YouTube Channel, "Glass Explorers," featuring clips of quotidian uses for Glass. Anomaly created a spot for Google with firefighters donning the headwear.

The addition of Ms. Ross signals Google's desire to evolve into a viable retailer. The search-ad giant has steadily been ramping up its marketing behind its technology products like Chromebooks and Nexus phones.

The staff change may also reflect behind-the-scenes shuffling at the secretive Google division. Yesterday, TechCrunch reported that the lead electrical engineer for Glass departed for Facebook to work on Oculus VR, the rival's wearable computing technology.

Google's newest hire, Ms. Ross, came to the Oakland-based in 2011 after Gap named Seth Farbman, from WPP's Ogilvy, as its new CMO, taking over duties that had been hers.

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