Google has laid off hundreds of staff who were working on its voice-activated assistant

  • Google laid off hundreds of staff working on their devices and services.

  • The affected staff include those working on Google Assistant and activity tracker Fitbit.

  • AI upstarts like OpenAI and Perplexity are challenging Google’s dominance in search.

Google is laying off hundreds of staff working on Google Assistant and members of their devices and services team.

The layoffs, which Semafor and 9to5Google first reported, were announced on Wednesday. According to 9to5Google, the co-founders of Fitbit, James Park and Eric Friedman, would also be leaving the search giant.

A company spokesperson told Business Insider that their teams had “made changes to become more efficient and work better” across the second half of 2023.

“Some teams are continuing to make these kinds of organizational changes, which include some role eliminations globally,” the spokesperson added. “We’re continuing to support any impacted employees as they look for new roles here at Google and beyond.”

Google, however, did not specify the exact number of jobs that had been cut in this round of layoffs.

The past year has been a tumultuous period for staff working at the search giant. Google’s parent company, Alphabet, laid off about 6% of its employees, or around 12,000 workers, last January.

“Over the past two years we’ve seen periods of dramatic growth. To match and fuel that growth, we hired for a different economic reality than the one we face today,” Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai told staff in an email dated January 20, 2023.

The company also faces challenges from new AI upstarts like OpenAI and Jeff Bezos-backed Perplexity, who hope to dethrone Google’s dominance in search with their chatbots.

Read the original article on Business Insider

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