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Google staff anxiety runs high after 12,000 colleagues cut

The company, owned by Alphabet Inc., had finally decided to cut 12,000 employees, or 6% of the workforce

Google staff anxiety runs high after 12,000 colleagues cut
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Google employees, after watching peers at rival tech firms lose their jobs en masse, were anxious about when layoffs would happen to them.

Then on Friday morning, some of them couldn’t get into their corporate accounts.

The company, owned by Alphabet Inc., had finally decided to cut 12,000 employees, or 6% of the workforce.

Employees described a mostly orderly if impersonal transition, communicated mostly via the same technology products they helped build, with no direct answers for individuals about why they were included or not.

Some found out they lost their jobs via messages sent to their personal email addresses.

With no central way to see which roles had been eliminated, the remaining workers took to writing their peers on messaging app Google Chat to see if it worked.

If not, it meant that person had lost their job, according to a Google employee who requested anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the press.

On messaging apps and internal chat rooms, employees started to pose theories and share anxieties about the future.

The company’s prized artificial intelligence teams appeared to escape mostly unscathed. In a message to staff announcing the layoffs, Alphabet Chief Executive Officer Sundar Pichai framed the cuts as a way for the company to sharpen its focus on artificial intelligence.

But Area 120, an in-house incubator for new ideas, was decimated.

The unit’s managing partner and workers on three projects slated to be folded into Google were spared, but virtually all other employees were laid off, according to two people with knowledge of the matter.

Google employee Dallas Barnes, a visual designer, wrote on Twitter that he was the only member of his team who had survived the cuts.

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