Google’s decision to lay off 12,000 workers was just revealed on Friday, but it continued the current trend of the “Big Tech” businesses shedding employment in previously unheard-of proportions, and now we’ve seen additional details regarding where exactly these cutbacks took place.
According to a story by The Information, layoffs at Google affected practically every department, including those responsible for Chrome, Search, Android, and Google Cloud. People who had earned “high performance reports” in the past and managers earning between $500,000 and $1,000,000 were reportedly impacted.
The Google Brain division led by Jeff Dean, the senior vice president of research and artificial intelligence, was “largely unscathed” by the outage. That’s the group working on the machine learning technology that’s already seeing widespread use at Google. The New York Times reports that during its I/O event in May, Google will unveil a variety of items, including image-generation tools, a green screen capability for YouTube, and a chatbot version of its search engine.
Google acknowledged its decision “to wind down the bulk of the Area 120 crew.” Named after Google’s once-popular but now-defunct policy of allocating 20% of employee time to pursue side projects, this incubator saw major cutbacks to half of its projects before year’s end. The business has announced that three of its projects would be merged into Google, while the other initiatives seem to have been abandoned.
Polygon highlights accounts of the consequences on many game development firms and the replies from several former workers of Microsoft, where 10,000 people are being let off. There were layoffs at Bethesda, the studio responsible for developing Starfield, that the company’s Halo unit, 343 Industries, was “struck hard.” Kotaku also reported that Gears of War developer The Coalition had been hit.
Amazon told us several months ago that the layoffs included employees in the devices and services department. Later in January, Amazon’s head of hardware, Dave Limp, said that almost 2,000 employees had been let off from his division alone, which includes the Echo smart speaker and the Alexa virtual assistant. Its healthcare service and a video calling gadget for children were both confirmed cancellations.
According to a CNBC report published this week, the layoffs also affect a “significant number” of employees working on the Prime Air drone delivery project at various locations, including its headquarters and, according to a since-deleted LinkedIn post, as much as half the team at its Pendleton, Oregon test site. As the initiative, first announced by Jeff Bezos in 2013, begins rolling out testing in a few cities and prepares to deploy the next-generation MK30 drone, which will follow the previous MK27-2 unit depicted above, those savings are being implemented.
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