Alphabet’s Google has disclosed its intention to layoff employees across multiple divisions, including the Voice Assistant unit, the hardware team responsible for Pixel, Nest, and Fitbit, as well as the augmented reality (AR) team, marking another wave of layoffs for the tech giant.
Notably, Fitbit co-founders James Park and Eric Friedman are also parting ways with Google as part of these organizational changes. The fitness tracking company Fitbit was acquired by Google for $2.1 billion in 2021, signaling the tech giant’s expansion into the health and fitness tracking market. Despite this acquisition, Google has continued to invest in its Pixel Watch, intensifying competition with both Fitbit devices and Apple Watch.
A spokesperson for Google commented on the ongoing organisational adjustments, stating, “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. Some teams are continuing to make these kinds of organisational changes, which include some role eliminations globally.”
While the exact number of impacted roles has not been disclosed, the layoffs span across various teams, including the central engineering team and the Google Assistant software team. This follows Google’s previous announcement in January 2023, where parent company Alphabet revealed plans to cut 12,000 jobs, equivalent to 6% of its global workforce. As of September 2023, Alphabet had 182,381 employees worldwide.
This workforce reduction aligns with broader industry trends, with companies like Microsoft also redrafting their strategies in response to the evolving landscape of generative artificial intelligence (AI) technology. Last year, Google outlined its ambitions to integrate generative AI capabilities into its virtual assistant, enabling advanced functionalities such as trip planning and email management.