Google is cutting approximately 12,000 jobs — the latest technology firm to initiate significant layoffs as inflation rises and global markets brace for a downturn.
As reported by Bloomberg News, Google SEO Sundar Pichai announced the cuts in an email to staff on Friday. The job losses constitute around 6 percent of Google’s global workforce, compared to recent layoffs at Microsoft (10,000 jobs or 5 percent of the workforce), Amazon (18,000 jobs / 6 percent), and Meta (11,000 / 13 percent). Earlier this month, Google’s parent company Alphabet announced much smaller cuts at Verily, its health-focused subsidiary, and Intrinsic, a subsidiary developing software for industrial robots.
In the email to staff, Pichai said the company would “sharpen our focus, reengineer our cost base, and direct our talent and capital to our highest priorities.” The CEO noted that artificial intelligence would be a key area going forward.
Google made significant early leads in AI with investments like its 2014 acquisition of research-focused AI lab DeepMind. But the company has been wrong-footed in recent months by more daring rivals like OpenAI, which launched its buzzy AI chatbot ChatGPT on the web last year. OpenAI has forged a deep partnership with Google rival Microsoft, with the latter promising to integrate its AI tech into products like search and office software.
In Google’s earnings report last October it announced revenue of $69 billion and profit of $13.9 billion; marking growing revenue (up from $65.1 billion the previous year) but shrinking profits (down from $18.9 billion the same quarter in 2021). Earlier last year, Pichai signaled that the company would be slowing down on hiring, saying Googlers would have to work with “greater urgency, sharper focus, and more hunger than we’ve shown on sunnier days.”