(RightWing.org) – Like many other big tech companies, Google hired a lot of new people during the pandemic lockdowns. Now, with costs rising, it’s been cutting its workforce back down to a more sustainable size. The company has just announced that hundreds more jobs will go on top of the deep cuts it made last year.
Last year, Google’s parent company, Alphabet, announced that it was cutting its workforce by 6% to reduce costs, shedding around 12,000 jobs. That was part of a trend sweeping the tech sector, as companies laid off extra workers they’d taken on in a surge of optimism during the 2020 lockdowns.
As life started to return to normal, it turned out people weren’t going to spend their whole lives online after all, and tech companies realized that their inflated payrolls were now a threat to their profitability. 2023 saw a major rebalancing, and Google was one of the most aggressive in cutting back on surplus employees.
It seems the cuts didn’t go far enough, though, and on January 11, the company announced hundreds more job losses. This time the cuts are focused on engineering departments; most of those being let go work in its “augmented reality” division, which covers hardware and voice assistance.
This decision makes sense because “augmented reality” projects like Mark Zuckerberg’s failed Metaverse are yesterday’s news. Now, the big thing in tech is artificial intelligence. Google is already investing heavily in AI, but it’s lagging behind Microsoft, which has used the popular ChatGPT app to turbocharge its Bing search engine.
Industry analysts say Microsoft has “a clear lead in the AI arms race,” and Google’s move to slash costs in hardware-based engineering is likely a sign that it’s moving all available resources to catch up with its rival. After all, while Google has been diversifying for years, its search engine is still the core of its business model. The company will fight hard to prevent the new AI-powered incarnation of Bing from overtaking it in the vital search market.
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