Google cuts jobs at its most innovative division known as Area 120

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(Image credit: Android Central)

What you need to know

  • Google appears to be reducing funding for Area 120.
  • As a result, the company's in-house R&D unit is seeing its projects cut in half.
  • Affected employees have been told that they must find new jobs within Google or face termination.

Google's research and development unit responsible for new ideas and projects is seeing a reduction in headcount and funding as the company shifts its focus to artificial intelligence, Bloomberg reports.

The search giant's latest move means that half of the 14 current projects at Area 120 will be canceled, and some heads will roll. According to the report, Google has informed affected employees that they must look for new opportunities within the company by January 2023. Otherwise, Google will have to terminate them. Google recruiters are assisting affected employees in finding new jobs at the company.

Android Central has reached out to Google for comment and will update this article when we receive a response. Meanwhile, the Mountain View-based tech giant has confirmed the reduction to TechCrunch, saying that "Area 120 is winding down several projects to make way for new work."

Elias Roman, the unit's lead, added that the move is intended to shift the company's focus away from product incubation and toward AI projects.

The funding and headcount reductions are unsurprising given that Google had previously halted hiring while it reviewed its headcount requirements.

Area 120 saw the birth of a diverse range of projects, including GameSnacks, which aimed to create a quick and easy way for users in emerging markets to play casual games. Last year, the incubator team created Stack, a smart document scanner designed to automatically organize documents and add important details. At one point, Google also wanted to compete with Airtable with a work-tracking tool called Tables.

As part of the reduction, Google is discontinuing some new initiatives, such as Qaya, which was meant to allow creators to set up storefronts for their products. 

Google's latest reduction in force doesn't mean it's pulling the plug on Area 120 any time soon. The department will stay in place, albeit with fewer resources and funding. But looking at the situation from a distance, the latest move highlights the negative impact of a worsening global economic outlook.

Jay Bonggolto
News Writer & Reviewer

Jay Bonggolto always keeps a nose for news. He has been writing about consumer tech and apps for as long as he can remember, and he has used a variety of Android phones since falling in love with Jelly Bean. Send him a direct message via Twitter or LinkedIn.