Google has made significant changes recently, laying off hundreds of employees across various divisions, including core engineering, Google Assistant, and the hardware division. One area affected by these cuts is the team responsible for augmented reality (AR), despite AR being a high-profile focus for the company this year.
The layoffs have also led to the departure of Fitbit co-founders and other Fitbit leaders who joined Google when the company acquired Fitbit. These departures indicate the negative impact the layoffs have had on the Fitbit team within Google.
Cost-cutting has been a priority for Google since January of last year, which has resulted in frequent layoffs across different divisions. The company is constantly looking for ways to optimize its operations and reduce expenses.
In addition to the layoffs, Google Assistant will be losing 17 features that are considered “underutilized” and will no longer be supported in the future. This includes the removal of Google Assistant’s default spot on the homepage of all Android devices, significantly reducing its prominence.
Among the features being removed are the messaging feature of Google Assistant and voice support for Google Play Books. Furthermore, the Fitbit Sense and Versa 3 will no longer have voice-control activities, as Fitbit continues to face challenges under Google’s ownership.
However, Google’s plans for the Assistant remain uncertain. There are rumors of a potential shutdown in favor of a new voice assistant called “Pixie.” On the other hand, there are also promises of integrating Bard generative-AI with the Assistant, signaling the company’s intent to continually evolve and improve its voice capabilities.
These developments at Google highlight the company’s ongoing efforts to streamline operations and adapt to changing market dynamics. While the layoffs and feature cuts may seem concerning, they also demonstrate Google’s commitment to innovation and its determination to deliver the best possible user experience. As these changes take effect, it will be interesting to see how Google positions itself in the fast-paced world of voice assistants and AR technology.
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