Google laid off hundreds of workers across several divisions Wednesday night, seeking to cut costs by focusing on artificial intelligence and joining a wave of other companies cutting tech jobs this year.
The Silicon Valley company laid off employees in its core engineering division, as well as those working on the Google Assistant, a voice-activated virtual assistant, and in the hardware division that makes the Pixel phone, Fitbit watches and the Nest thermostat, three people with knowledge of the so-called cuts.
Several hundred employees in the company’s core engineering organization lost access to the company and received notifications that their roles had been eliminated, two of the people said.
“We have had to make difficult decisions regarding the retention of certain Google employees and we regret to inform you that your position is being eliminated,” the company told some workers at the division, according to a text seen by the New York Times.
Google confirmed the assistant cuts, previously reported by Semafor, and hardware layoffs, previously reported by blog 9to5Google.
“We are investing responsibly in our company’s highest priorities and the significant opportunities ahead,” a Google spokesperson said in a statement. After reductions in the second half of 2023, “some teams continue to make these types of organizational changes, which include some global role eliminations.”
The cuts are part of a trend of layoffs in the tech sector, after major companies such as Google, Meta and Amazon laid off thousands of workers last year. Ten days into this year, more and more companies have announced job cuts. Earlier Wednesday, Amazon laid off hundreds of workers at its streaming service Twitch, Prime Video and MGM Studios. Xerox announced this month that it would cut 15 percent of its 23,000 employees, and video game software provider Unity Software said it would cut 1,800 positions, or 25 percent of its workforce.
At Google, Sundar Pichai, the chief executive, has pushed the company since July 2022 to focus more and reduce spending as the global economy deteriorates. In January 2023, Google laid off 6% of its workforce, or 12,000 people, in the company’s largest-ever layoffs. Since then, company executives have said they will work to significantly reduce costs as the company focuses on the growing area of generative artificial intelligence.
Google, which had 182,000 employees in September. 30, said Wednesday’s layoffs were part of a series of reorganizations carried out in the normal course of business.
The Alphabet Workers Union, a group representing more than 1,400 workers at Google’s parent company Alphabet, called the layoffs “unnecessary.”
“Our members and teammates work hard every day to build great products for our users, and the company cannot continue to lay off our colleagues while making billions every quarter,” the group said in a post on the social networking site
Michael Isaac reports contributed.