Google announces new layoffs and cuts to voice assistant

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In a sweeping move, Google has announced significant layoffs across various divisions, notably impacting its Voice Assistant unit, hardware team, and central engineering team. The hardware division, responsible for the development of Google’s flagship products like Pixel, Nest, and Fitbit, is facing substantial cuts, with the augmented reality (AR) team bearing the brunt of these layoffs.

This development is particularly striking in the wake of Google’s $2.1 billion acquisition of Fitbit in 2021 and the ongoing release of new Pixel Watch versions. Google’s spokesperson explained that these layoffs are part of a strategic realignment aimed at boosting efficiency and focusing resources more directly on the company’s core product areas.

The precise number of affected roles has not been disclosed, but this restructuring is a part of a larger industry shift towards generative artificial intelligence (AI) technologies. Google has plans to incorporate generative AI into its virtual assistant, aligning with current tech trends.

This announcement comes on the heels of Alphabet, Google’s parent company, revealing a 12,000-job reduction in January 2023, which equates to about 6% of its global workforce. As of September 2023, Alphabet’s employment figures stood at 182,381 people worldwide.

Highlights:
– Google announces layoffs in multiple teams, including Voice Assistant and hardware.
– Hardware team, behind Pixel and Nest, significantly affected.
– The move follows the $2.1 billion Fitbit acquisition and Pixel Watch releases.
– Layoffs aim to realign resources with key product priorities.
– Google’s focus shifting towards generative AI technology.
– Alphabet previously announced a reduction of 12,000 jobs.

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