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Google banks on AI for future as CEO outlines huge opportunity post 12,000 cull

Google banks on AI for future as CEO outlines huge opportunity post 12,000 cull

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Google CEO Sundar Pichai has shared his confidence in AI calling it a “huge opportunity” for the company despite the slashing of 12,000 jobs earlier last week. In a statement to staff, Pichai said that due to the strength of the company’s mission, the value of Google’s products and services, and its early investments in AI, the company is now in a good position.

“Pivoting the company to be AI-first years ago led to groundbreaking advances across our businesses and the whole industry,” he said, adding that thanks to those early investments, Google’s products are better than ever. “We’re getting ready to share some entirely new experiences for users, developers and businesses, too. We have a substantial opportunity in front of us with AI across our products and are prepared to approach it boldly and responsibly,” he added.

Nonetheless, Pichai noted that tough choices needed to be made, and this came after “rigorous reviews” across product areas and functions to ensure that the roles are aligned with Google’s highest priorities as a company. “The roles we’re eliminating reflect the outcome of that review. They cut across Alphabet, product areas, functions, levels and regions,” he added.

Meanwhile, a separate email was already sent to employees in the US who are affected. In the US, Google will be paying employees during the full notification period and will also offer a severance package starting at 16 weeks salary plus two weeks for every additional year at Google, and accelerate at least 16 weeks of GSU vesting.

In other countries, this process will take longer due to local laws and practices.

“This will mean saying goodbye to some incredibly talented people we worked hard to hire and have loved working with. I’m deeply sorry for that. The fact that these changes will impact the lives of Googlers weighs heavily on me, and I take full responsibility for the decisions that led us here,” he added.

Pichai also noted that over the past two years, the company saw periods of dramatic growth. To match and fuel that growth, Google hired for a different economic reality than the one it now faces.

“As an almost 25-year-old company, we’re bound to go through difficult economic cycles. These are important moments to sharpen our focus, reengineer our cost base, and direct our talent and capital to our highest priorities,” he added.

According to CNBC, there were 750 senior leaders took part in the process of determining who will be let go. It took weeks to come to a conclusion. Pichai explained that he consulted with Google's founders and controlling shareholders, Sergey Brin and Larry Page, and the board of directors, in making the decision in relation to the job cuts. 

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