Google cuts over 1,000 jobs in its voice assistance, hardware teams as Fitbit founders leave

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Google is shedding over 1,000 staff throughout a number of divisions, together with engineering and companies, late Wednesday.

The affected divisions embrace voice-activated Google Assistant as a part of the data and data product group restructuring; and the Gadgets and Companies PA (DSPA) group that manages Pixel, Nest, and Fitbit {hardware}.

The corporate, which had 182,000 staff as of September 30, 2023, confirmed this improvement however downplayed it via a press release to point the job cuts had been a part of organizational adjustments.

“To finest place us for these alternatives, all through the second half of 2023, a variety of our groups made adjustments to grow to be extra environment friendly and work higher, and to align their sources to their greatest product priorities. Some groups are persevering with to make these sorts of organizational adjustments, which embrace some function eliminations globally,” a Google spokesperson stated in a press release.

The Alphabet Employee Union stated on X that the layoffs had been “pointless” and the corporate can’t “proceed to fireside our coworkers” whereas making billions.

Google has additionally let go of most of its AR {hardware} group and can work with different OEMs, as first reported by 9to5Google. The report additionally talked about that Google will now have one core {hardware} engineering group as an alternative of separate groups engaged on Pixel, Fitbit and Nest.

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The corporate additionally confirmed to TechCrunch that Fitbit co-founders James Park and Eric Friedman are leaving as a part of this restructuring.

Park performed a pivotal function in introducing the brand new Pixel Watch line of smartwatches to Google’s {hardware} line up.

Google introduced that it’s buying Fitbit for $2.1 billion in 2019. The deal took two years to move regulatory approval and was finalized in 2021. Since then the corporate has been merging Fitbit merchandise into Google’s personal choices. As an example, final 12 months, the search big began prompting Fitbit customers emigrate to Google accounts.

Individually, the corporate has additionally let go of individuals engaged on the Google Assistant group, as reported by Semafor. The corporate began infusing AI-powered options in Google Assistant via Bard final 12 months in a bid to increase Assistant “past voice.” In October, through the Pixel occasion, Google stated that Assistant might look via apps like Gmail and Drive to answer queries associated to particular emails and information.

Final 12 months, Google had rolling layoffs in several groups, together with the Waze mapping service in June, its recruiting team in September and its news division in October. Google’s newest company-wide layoff comes a 12 months after the tech big let go of roughly 12,000 roles, or 6% of its workforce, in January 2023.

Replace 1/11/24, 3:48 PM ET: The union representing Alphabet employees stated the layoffs impacted greater than 1,000 staff, The Info reported, making it the most important spherical of cuts since final January.

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