"If light turned red, it meant you had been laid off. if green, you were safe" - Journalist revealed how 12,000 people knew they have been fired by Google KossyDerrickBlog KossyDerrickEnt

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Friday, January 20, 2023

"If light turned red, it meant you had been laid off. if green, you were safe" - Journalist revealed how 12,000 people knew they have been fired by Google

After Amazon, Microsoft and Meta carried out massive layoffs, Google is doing the same and plans to let about 6% of its global workforce go. That amounts to approximately 12,000 people.

Information reads: "Google NYC employees who arrived at the office early this morning stood in a line to test their badges-- if light turned red, it meant you had been laid off. if green, you were safe." 

For comparison, Amazon's latest round of layoffs cut 18,000 jobs (6%), Microsoft's cut was 10,000 jobs (5%), while Meta had to release 11,000 people (13%). So Google's layoff isn't disproportionately bigger, but that's still a lot of people about to be left without a job. Everyone in the tech industry - and not only - is bracing for the economic downturn and it's looking for a way to cut costs. Naturally, job cutting is one of the levers companies can pull.

Sundar Pichai, Google's CEO, said in an official statement that the remaining Google staff should focus more than ever and work with a sense of great urgency. He then added that Google will put greater effort at developing its AI-related services in order to compete with rival companies working on similar projects.

Google's revenue this year grew to $69 billion, but actual profits shrunk to $13.9 billion. And with global economies expected to face serious challenges in 2023 Google is trying to act before things get much worse.

The recent launch of OpenAI’s AI chatbot ChatGPT has raised alarms within Google, according to reports from The New York Times. Now, the Times says Google has plans to “demonstrate a version of its search engine with chatbot features this year” and unveil more than 20 projects powered by artificial intelligence.

As recently as December, we’d heard Google execs were worried that despite investing heavily in AI technology, moving too fast to roll it out could harm the company’s reputation. But things are changing quickly. Earlier this morning, Google announced it’s laying off more than 12,000 employees and focusing on AI as a domain of primary importance.

There’s no specific timeframe mentioned for the launch of Google’s AI search demo, but other projects from the slide presentation viewed by the Times are apparently set to debut during its annual I/O event in May, which has previously launched features like Duplex and Google Glass.

The situation is serious enough that the Times also reports that Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin — who remain the controlling shareholders of Google’s parent company Alphabet — have “offered advice” to company leaders, approved plans, and pitched ideas while meeting with executives to talk about ChatGPT last month. It notes that this level of reengagement, a shift after they left their daily roles in 2019, came at the invitation of Google / Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai.

The demo for the chatbot search says Google will prioritize “getting facts right, ensuring safety and getting rid of misinformation,” hoping to address the issue of AI responding to queries confidently and clearly with bad information. Meanwhile, it’s also working on ways to speed up review processes that are supposed to check the technology to see if it’s operating in ways that are fair and ethical.

New product launches mentioned in the report, presented by a panel of execs including Jeff Dean, who runs its research and AI department, include an image generation studio that “creates and edits images,” an app for testing product prototypes, and a set of tools that other businesses can use to create AI prototypes from within a browser window called MakerSuite. The company is also working on a code generation tool called PaLM-Coder 2 that’s similar to Microsoft’s GitHub Copilot software and another that helps build apps for smartphones named Colab + Android Studio.

Google parent Alphabet Inc. said it will cut about 12,000 jobs, more than 6% of its global workforce, becoming the latest tech giant to retrench after years of abundant growth and hiring.

The cuts will affect jobs globally and across the entire company, Chief Executive Officer Sundar Pichai told employees in an email on Friday, writing that he takes “full responsibility for the decisions that led us here.”

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