Google announces workforce reductions in assistant, hardware, engineering

Fitbit co-founders James Park and Eric Friedman also announce their departure
A representational image of Googles home page. — Canva
A representational image of Google's home page. — Canva

In line with its aim to cut costs, Alphabet’s Google Thursday announced its decision to lay off hundreds of employees across multiple teams alongside the departure of Fitbit co-founders James Park and Eric Friedman.

Sharing details of the layoffs, the tech giant said it will fire hundreds of employees at it Voice Assistant unit. At the same time, some will be laid off from the hardware team responsible for Pixel, Nest and Fitbit, with the majority of people in the augmented reality (AR) team being let go.

Google further added that hundreds of roles in the search giant’s central engineering team are also being impacted.

It should be noted that in 2021 the tech giant bought health and fitness tracking company Fitbit for $2.1 billion; however, it continued to launch new versions of its Pixel Watch — a product that competes with some of Fitbit’s devices and also the Apple Watch.

Speaking to Reuters, a spokesperson of Google said: “Throughout 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 continue to make these kinds of organizational changes, including some role eliminations globally.”

The spokesperson, however, did not specify the exact number of layoffs. The restructuring comes at a time when Microsoft and Google are betting on the rising adoption of generative artificial intelligence (AI) technology following the success of OpenAI’s ChatGPT.