Google layoffs: Robots aren’t spared either

Reports are emerging that robots have now joined the long list of Google redundancies as the company continues to cut costs in the wake of an anticipated recession. The tech giant laid off 12,000 employees, which constitutes 6 percent of its workforce in January this year, not accounting for robots. ‘Everyday Robots’ – a subsidiary of Google – has been developing robots for consumers that were apparently employed for cleaning and maintaining the company’s offices.

The California-based search engine behemoth had deployed a battery of over hundred robots that featured a single arm and wheels to facilitate mobility. These robots performed menial tasks like cleaning cafeteria tables, segregating trash and recycling, and even opening doors for workers and visitors. However, Everyday Robots was not a lucrative business for the search giant.

Google incurred a loss of approximately 6.1 billion dollars last year, with the organisation’s overall profit tanking by 21 percent to 60 billion dollars. Therefore, the tech behemoth disbanded a string of projects, including Everyday Robots to mitigate financial losses.

The American search engine leader acquired Everyday Robots a decade ago along with seven other robotics acquisitions when Google co-founders envisioned robotics becoming a consumer product. Last year, engineers embedded a sizeable language model similar to ChatGPT into the robotics system. This enhanced its communication abilities and rendered a personality to robots.

Google’s competitors Meta, Amazon, and Twitter have also significantly downsized their workforce. Earlier this year, Amazon revealed that it would be firing 18,000 employees while Meta trimmed 11,000 employees from its workforce.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ET Edge Insights, its management, or its members

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