Google announced a massive scale back at its in-house R&D segment, Area 120, as per reports. Sundar Pichai, CEO of Alphabet and Google, said the number of staff at Area 120 has been reduced by half, projects have been cut to seven from fourteen, and remaining ones have been cancelled.

Since 2016, Area 120 has been Google’s “in-house” seedbed for full-time employment opportunities, rather than in their “20% time.” The division had worked on features, like smart replies on Android, GameSnacks in Android Auto, and Google Chrome.

Last year, when Stadia Games and Entertainment was shut down, Google had given time to employees who lost their job to find another position in the company. Likewise, Google has given time to ex-employees of Area 120 till end of January 2023 to look for opportunities within the company

According to Area 120 head, Elias Roman, the division decided to refocus on “AI-first” projects, as opposed to its earlier project ambitions across Google. One of the Area 120 project that is still being continued is the “Aloud” app that dubs YouTube videos in multiple language.

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The downsizing at Google maybe seen as a branch out from thecompany’s plan of hiring slowdown for 2022 and the placement freeze that happened between July and August. As per reports, Google have sent out a notice to its employees “to shape up or to ship out”.