Google lays off hundreds of workers as AI race heats up

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By Dan Sears

Google will lay off several hundred workers across multiple parts of its business as the search giant shifts more resources toward the rapid development of artificial intelligence, the company confirmed Thursday.

A few hundred employees were cut from Google’s core engineering team, the company said. Google also cut hundreds of workers from the division working on its “Voice Assistant” program.

Google slashed hundreds of other roles while streamlining its hardware division, which is responsible for devices such as the Pixel, Nest and Fitbit.

The exact number of employees impacted by the cuts was not immediately clear. Google had more than 182,000 employees around the world as of last fall, filings showed.

“As we’ve said, we’re responsibly investing in our company’s biggest priorities and the significant opportunities ahead,” a Google spokesperson said in a statement. “To best position us for these opportunities, 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.”

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An attendee has her photo taken in front of the Google house at CES 2024, an annual consumer electronics trade show, in Las Vegas, Nevada,
Google is laying off hundreds of people across various divisions. REUTERS

“Some teams are continuing to make these kinds of organizational changes, which include some role eliminations globally. We’re continuing to support any impacted employees as they look for new roles here at Google and beyond,” the spokesperson added.

The workforce shakeup comes as Google, Microsoft and other Big Tech firms are locked in intense competition to build advanced AI tools.

In December, Google rolled out its latest generative AI product called Gemini, which will directly compete with Microsoft-backed OpenAI’s ChatGPT.

The ousted employees will be able to apply for other roles at the company.

Google is also providing them with resources such as outplacement services and severance, the company said.


The Google sign is shown over an entrance to the company's new building in New York on Wednesday, Sept. 6, 2023.
Google is racing to developed advanced AI. AP

Semafor and 9to5 were first to report on the layoffs.

Google confirmed the restructuring and said the cuts were routine organizational changes.

Google most recently laid off about 12,000 workers across the company last January.

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