The cutbacks at Alphabet, the parent company of Google, have had a huge impact on Area 120, the Google in-house incubator responsible for products including Checks, Tables, Stack, and ThreadBite. According to a Google representative, the bulk of the Area 120 team has been “winded down,” and just three projects from the group will go on to become part of Google’s main product lines by the end of the year.
The representative declined to elaborate on which initiatives were ending or moving on. Previously, Area 120 has been used as a testing ground for new ideas and prototypes including the office video platform ThreadIt, the spectrum marketplace Orion, the document scanner Stack, and many more. The organisation often had twenty active projects at once, but not all of them were advertised.
The statement said, “We have informed impacted employees in the United States, but this process will take longer in other countries and is subject to local laws and norms.” “Area 120’s managing partner is still with the firm.”
Alphabet and Google CEO Sundar Pichai formed Area 120 in March 2016 with the intention of developing innovative applications and services that might be included into the company’s main revenue generators down the line.
The company has introduced many profitable products over the years, such as the HTML5 gaming platform GameSnacks (now integrated with Google Chrome), the AI-powered conversational advertisements platform AdLingo (which departed to Google Cloud), and the video platforms Tangi and Shoploop (which exited to Google Search and Shopping).
After a reorganisation in 2021, Area 120 became part of a new Google Labs division under the direction of Clay Bavor, where it coexisted with other innovative projects at Google dealing with AR/VR/VR and video conferencing. Later, there were slashings. As of last September, Google has terminated half of Area 120’s initiatives and drastically decreased manpower for the programme.
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