Google Streamlines Operations with Layoffs Across AI, Hardware, and Assistant Teams Amid Economic Downturn

Google Streamlines Operations with Layoffs Across AI, Hardware, and Assistant Teams Amid Economic Downturn

Google is reorganizing and laying off staff across its artificial intelligence, hardware, and Assistant teams. This is part of an effort to cut costs and streamline operations during the economic downturn.

Among those leaving are the founders of Fitbit, which Google acquired in 2021. The layoffs affected Fitbit employees as well as core engineering and Assistant teams at Google.

Previously, Google had separate teams for Pixel, Nest, and Fitbit hardware. Now it is shifting to a unified structure where one team handles hardware engineering across all devices. This new functional organization mirrors Apple’s approach.

The hardware re-org comes after major layoffs announced last year. In 2023 alone, Google eliminated 12,000 jobs including recruiters and news staff. Its parent Alphabet employed over 180,000 as of September.

This latest round was quietly communicated by managers, unlike the prior cuts revealed directly by CEO Sundar Pichai.

Google is not the only tech firm slashing staff lately. Amazon, Xerox, Unity Software, and others made reductions this month amid the economic slowdown.

Pichai has pushed Google to focus on artificial intelligence, especially generative AI that creates new content from existing data. This technology is seen as a growth driver.

Google states the current layoffs are normal reorganizations and that it remains committed to AI, hardware and Assistant.

But its employees’ union criticized the cuts, which come despite recent profits and as Google invests in AI.