Alphabet Inc.’s Google is undergoing significant organizational changes, including laying off hundreds of employees across various sectors.
This move is part of the tech giant’s broader effort to reduce costs and streamline operations.
Google confirms job cuts across multiple departments
Confirming these global job cuts, a Google spokesperson stated, “Throughout the second half of 2023, a number of our teams made changes to become more efficient and work better and to align their resources to their biggest product priorities.”
The layoffs impact employees in several departments, including those in digital assistant and hardware sectors, augmented reality (AR) hardware, internal software tools, engineering, and the Google Voice Assistant program.
Notably, staff members working on the company’s hardware team responsible for products like Pixel Watch, Nest, Fitbit, and the AR team are affected.
Google balances Fitbit acquisition, Pixel watch development amid layoffs
Google’s acquisition of Fitbit in 2021 for $2.1 billion was a strategic move to enhance consumer health and happiness through new devices and services.
Despite this, Google has continued to release new versions of its Pixel Watch, directly competing with Fitbit’s products and the Apple Watch.
Despite the layoffs, Google spokesperson Courtenay Mencini emphasized the company’s ongoing commitment to AR initiatives.
“Google continues to be deeply committed to other AR initiatives,” Mencini said.
Google offers reassignment opportunities amid layoffs
Google has assured that those impacted by the layoffs will have opportunities to apply for other roles within the company.
However, this move has been criticized by the Alphabet Workers Union as “another round of needless layoffs.”
The union expressed its discontent on X (formerly known as Twitter), emphasizing the workers’ dedication and the company’s financial success.
Google confirms exit of Fitbit co-founders, continues focus on health tech
In addition to the layoffs, Google confirmed the departure of Fitbit co-founders James Park and Eric Friedman.
Mencini reassured Fitbit users of continued innovation in the health space with personal AI and mentioned the ongoing momentum with Pixel Watch, the redesigned Fitbit app, the Fitbit Premium service, and the Fitbit tracker line.
Google’s previous layoffs and future AI focus
These recent layoffs follow Google’s announcement last year of a significant global reduction of about 12,000 employees, approximately 6% of Alphabet’s workforce.
The volatile economy influenced this move. Looking ahead, Google plans to focus on generative AI technology following the success of OpenAI’s ChatGPT, including plans to incorporate generative AI capabilities into its virtual assistant.
Amazon’s parallel cost-cutting efforts
In a related development, Amazon also announced layoffs affecting hundreds of employees in its Prime Video, MGM Studios subsidiary, and live-streaming platform Twitch.
This decision is in line with ongoing cost-cutting measures across the tech industry.
These organizational changes at Google and Amazon highlight the evolving landscape of the tech sector, where companies are realigning resources and strategies to adapt to current economic conditions and future technological trends.