Another day, another round of tech layoffs: Google CEO Sundar Pichai revealed in a blog post published Friday morning that the company plans to cut 12,000 positions or 6 percent of its workforce. Echoing other tech giants, Pichai said the company had hired too many workers.
"Over the past two years we’ve seen periods of dramatic growth," he wrote. "To match and fuel that growth, we hired for a different economic reality than the one we face today."
Google parent company Alphabet had previously announced a smaller number of layoffs at subsidiaries Verily and Intrinsic, but it had yet to make the kinds of mass layoffs that have swept across the industry as once high-flying tech companies brace for a global downturn in 2023.
Just this week, Microsoft announced that it's cutting 10,000 positions, or 5 percent of its workforce, and Amazon is in the middle of cutting 18,000 jobs, or 6 percent of its workforce.
Pichia presented the cuts as an opportunity for the 25-year-old company to "sharpen our focus" and redirect resources to new lines of business such as artificial intelligence.
"Being constrained in some areas allows us to bet big on others," he wrote. "Pivoting the company to be AI-first years ago led to groundbreaking advances across our businesses and the whole industry."
He added that AI was a "substantial opportunity" for the business, and that it's "getting ready to share some entirely new experiences for users, developers and businesses, too."
Perhaps providing a taste of what's to come, Google Cloud last week announced an AI-powered technology that allows retailers to use imagery to automatically track inventory
The company is also wading into the world of generative AI, which has come into the spotlight recently due to increased public access to text-to-image generators such as DALL-E 2 and Stable Diffusion. Google AI last week released a white paper on its own text-to-image model Muse.
"We have a substantial opportunity in front of us with AI across our products and are prepared to approach it boldly and responsibly," wrote Pichai.