- Big tech Google on Tuesday confirmed staff of a “reduction in force” that will make the incubator halved in size.
- Half the teams working on new product innovations came to know that their projects were being canceled.
Google cancels half the projects at its internal R&D group Area 120, here is the company’s statement, reports an Analytics Insight news source.
Google CEO Sundar Pichai
Google CEO Sundar Pichai, speaking at the Code Conference the previous week, suggested the internet giant needs to become 20% more efficient — a comment some in the industry took to mean headcount reductions could soon be on the table. Now, it appears that the prediction may be coming true. TechCrunch has mentioned, and the big tech confirmed, that the company is slashing projects at its in-house R&D division known as Area 120.
Big tech Google on Tuesday confirmed staff of a “reduction in force” that will make the incubator halved in size, as half the teams working on new product innovations came to know that their projects were being canceled. Previously, there were fourteen projects housed in Area 120, and this has been slashed down to just seven in number. Workers whose projects will not pursue were told to search for a new job within Google by the end of January 2023, or else they will be terminated. It is still not clear that each employee will be able to do so. Area 120 head Elias Roman has mentioned that the group will no longer be in charge of fuelling product incubation throughout all of Google. Alternatively, it would now focus solely on AI-first initiatives.
The report offers more context for the shifts via quotes from a well-informed source. Within a statement, the big tech confirmed the changes. “Area 120 is an in-house incubator for experimental fresh products. The group repeatedly starts and stops projects to run after the most promising opportunities,” a tech giant’s spokesperson said.
“We’ve recently shared that Area 120 will be shifting its focus to projects that escalate on Google’s deep investment in AI and have the ability to solve major user problems. As a result, Area 120 is winding down numerous projects to open a way for new work. Affected team members will get dedicated support as they explore new projects and opportunities at the tech giant Google.”
HTML5 gaming platform GameSnacks
Over the years, the division has launched a large number of successful products, which include the HTML5 gaming platform GameSnacks, now integrated with Google Chrome; an AirTable rival called Tables which exited to Google Cloud; an AI-powered conversational ads platform AdLingo, which also exited to Cloud; video platforms Tangi and Shoploop, which exited to Google Search and Shopping, respectively; the web-based travel app Touring Bird, which exited to Commerce; and a technical interview platform Byteboard, a rare external spinout. Qaya, a service established late last year that offered online shops for digital producers, is one of the initiatives being cut off as a result of the adjustments. Qaya integrates with Google Search and Shopping in a similar way to existing “link in bio” solutions like Linktree and Beacons. Also, it might be connected to the creator’s YouTube Merch Shelf, where their wares can be sold.
The other remaining six canceled projects were a financial accounting project for Google Sheets, another shopping-related product, analytics for AR/VR, and three climate-related initiatives that had not yet been released. These latter projects have concentrated on carbon accounting for IT, forest carbon assessment, and electric vehicle (EV) charging map routing. After a reorganization the previous year, the Area 120 team is now part of a new “Google Labs” department led by Google veteran Clay Bavor. The incubator was subsequently categorized with other futuristic Google initiatives, including VR/AR innovations and Project Starline, a state-of-the-art holographic videoconferencing system. Based on gathered information we can say that Google Labs and Starline are currently unaffected.
In July, Google CEO Pichai mentioned that Google would halt recruiting and focus on vital positions, but the firm had previously stated that major layoffs were not anticipated. The corporation recognizes that reorganizing teams, deprecating products, and even eliminating jobs may be needed as part of its newfound focus on productivity. Concerning the members of the Area 120 team whose projects have been slashed down, Google’s recruiters will try to put them in other positions, although this is not certain.
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Source: Analytics Insight