Google lays off hundreds of employees in its Assistant, hardware and other divisions

Fitbit's founders have reportedly departed as part of a hardware restructuring.

AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez

Google laid off "several hundred" workers in multiple divisions on Wednesday in a new round of belt tightening, according to reports from The New York Times, 9to5Mac, Semafor and other news outlets. Divisions affected include hardware (Pixel, Nest and Fitbit), core engineering and Google Assistant. The cuts — which appear to be at least 600 but may be higher — are already effective and workers impacted have reportedly been informed.

"We’re responsibly investing in our company’s biggest priorities and the significant opportunities ahead," a Google spokesman told the NYT in a statement. "Some teams are continuing to make these kinds of organizational changes, which include some role eliminations globally."

As part of the cuts, Google is said to be reorganizing its Pixel, Nest and Fitbit divisions, and Fitbit co-founders James Park, Eric Friedman and other leaders are leaving the company. The company will reportedly have one team responsible for hardware engineering across all three divisions.

"We’ve had to make some difficult decisions about ongoing employment of some Google employees and we regret to inform you that your position is being eliminated," the company told some employees in the core engineering division, according to a note seen by the NYT.

The company declined to respond to The Verge when asked if it reduced headcount in any other divisions — so the total number of layoffs isn't clear. Last year, Google made some of its largest job cuts ever, laying off around 12,000 people in January. As of late last year, the company employed 182,381 people, and counted 118,899 at the beginning of 2020, just ahead of the COVID-19 pandemic.

That was part of a wider reduction in jobs across the industry in 2023, with over 220,000 layoffs during the year. Those came from larger companies like Meta, Alphabet, Microsoft, Spotify and Amazon, along with numerous small, medium-sized and startup firms. Engadget has reached out to Google for comment about the layoffs and will update the story if required.

On Friday, the Alphabet Workers Union-CWA issued a statement in response to Wednesday's layoffs:

"On Wednesday night, over a thousand Google workers were shocked to learn via email that they were being laid off. These firings are coming less than a year after Alphabet laid off 12,000 of our coworkers in 2023, and the terms of severance have only gotten worse. These layoffs are unnecessary and counterproductive. Alphabet says it is doing layoffs in the interest of efficiency, but we know the truth, because we see the real impacts. The layoffs introduce chaos and instability into the workplace and force workers to make do with less. The real reason for them is simple: corporate greed. In the last year, the company earned tens of billions in profit, held over $100 billion in cash reserves, and raised its stock by 40 percent. Executive pay has gone untouched, all while thousands of our coworkers have had their lives turned upside down and those that remain on the job work in constant anxiety that they will be next.

The only way to keep these layoffs from happening every January is if we as Google workers act together and build the power to stop them.”

Update, January 12 2024, 3:35PM ET: This story has been updated to add a statement from the Alphabet Workers Union in response to the layoffs.