Google lays off 1,000+ employees in stealth as AI takes on the workload

Employees from ad sales, hardware, AR, Pixel, YouTube and more have been quietly let go through the month

Google lays off 1,000+ employees in stealth as AI takes on the workload

Stealth layoffs have been taking place at Google throughout January, with job cuts quickly stacking up across multiple departments. Among them, employees from ad sales, hardware, AR, and YouTube departments have been let go in their hundreds - per department.

Layoffs abound have taken place all over the tech industry in the past year, impacting everyone from Amazon to Nokia to Epic Games, and of course, Google itself. After last January saw the tech giant’s owner Alphabet lay off 12,000 employees in one fell swoop, rumblings of another Google restructure in December acted as something of a warning sign of a repeat ahead.

Perhaps attempting to avoid setting off those same alarm bells, this time Google hasn’t laid off thousands of people in one go, but rather let go of "a few hundred" here and "a few hundred" there, gradually whittling down its staff numbers around the world and across departments over the past two weeks.

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Google’s slightly more covert approach to layoffs hasn't completely avoided anxiety around job security though, particularly in December when the company looked to rely more on machine-learning artificial intelligence, on its ads sales team especially; in fact, Google has been looking to go AI-first for years.

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Since then, an internal memo has leaked to Business Insider confirming several hundred employees were indeed being let go from sales, particularly from the Large Customer Sales team. Google’s chief business officer Philipp Schindler stated: "While I’m confident we’re doing the right thing for our customers, partners, and ultimately for our business, this will be very hard for many, especially across our LCS teams."

Thus, fears of being replaced by AI have come to pass, with the tech giant having loaded AI features into Google Ads in the forms of a new chatbot and a generative AI image creator, able to tailor themselves to an individual ad purchaser’s needs. Naturally, AI is able to provide such material at a far faster rate than a human employee, and it doesn’t ask for a salary, either. So, by building up its AI department, Google has ultimately been able to replace people with the resultant tech.

Departments and divisions

Google’s ad sales team wasn’t the only one affected by the restructure, as The New York Times reported on a separate instance of job cuts from "core engineering" and from teams geared around Google Assistant, the Pixel phone line, Nest, and Fitbit. With these five divisions losing hundreds of staff each, the total layoffs from them alone must total somewhere around 1,000.

Fitbit co-founders James Park and Eric Friedman are even among those leaving Google, as per 9To5Google.

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The latest on the chopping block is YouTube’s business team, with an anonymous individual familiar with the matter revealing to The Verge yesterday, January 17, that an internal announcement was made regarding "about 100 roles" being axed from the creator partnerships team. The platform’s music-related and support teams are also being "reorganised", though any job cuts in these departments have yet to be revealed.

And remaining staff certainly can’t rest on their laurels either, as another leaked internal memo from Google CEO Sundar Pichai reads, “We have ambitious goals and will be investing in our big priorities this year. The reality is that to create the capacity for this investment, we have to make tough choices," he stated.

"These role eliminations are not at the scale of last year’s reductions, and will not touch every team. But I know it’s very difficult to see colleagues and teams impacted. Many of these changes are already announced, though to be upfront, some teams will continue to make specific resource allocation decisions throughout the year where needed, and some roles may be impacted."

Certainly, January 2024 hasn't managed to break away from the 2023 layoffs trend, as Unity has just laid off 1,800 staff members too.

News Editor

Aaron is the News Editor at and has an honours degree in Creative Writing.
Having spent far too many hours playing Pokémon, he's now on a quest to be the very best like no one ever putting words in the right order.