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More Google layoffs confirmed in its Assistant and core engineering divisions

Google Assistant logo on a dark background

Late on Wednesday, reports came in on major changes in Google's Devices and Service division, which included a few hundred employees being laid off. As it turns out, two more Google divisions were hit with layoffs as well on Wednesday.

Semafor was the first to report that hundreds of team members in the Google Assistant division were laid off on Wednesday. Google confirmed the job cuts, stating they would help in the integration of generative AI features into Assistant. The company first announced plans to merge its Bard AI chatbot with Assistant in October 2023. The New York Times was also the first to report that Google was laying off several hundred workers in its core engineering team.

These announcements came just after it was confirmed that Google had made a big organizational change in Devices and Services, which includes its Pixel, Fitbit, and Nest hardware teams. Google made the decision on Wednesday to lay off a few hundred workers from that part of the business, mostly from its augmented reality team.

In addition to the layoffs, Google will now combine the Pixel, Fitbit, and Nest hardware teams into one big team run by a currently unnamed leader. Fitbit cofounders James Park and Eric Friedman, along with other Fitbit members, have departed Google as a result of these changes.

While these layoffs are certainly bad news for the people who are affected, it looks like the job cuts are far less than what Google announced in January 2023. At that time, the company said it was cutting 12,000 team members from its workforce, or about 6 percent of its employees.

Google stated that in September 2023, it had about 182,000 employees. If the Devices and Services, Assistant, and core engineering teams each cut hundreds of workers, that likely means the total employee cuts were less than one percent of Google's total employee count.

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