Google CEO Sundar Pichai, speaking at the Code Conference last week, suggested the company needed to become 20% more efficient. For that reason, Google has decided to cut out its number of projects. Google has just confirmed that the company is cancelling projects at its in-house R&D division known as Area 120.
Google Cancels Half the Projects at its internal R&D Group Area 120
The company informed staff of a “reduction in force” that will see the incubator halved in size, as half the teams working on new product innovations heard their projects were being cancelled. Previously, the company was working on 14 projects in Area 120 which now reduced to seven. The employees who were working on cancelled projects now have to find a new job within Google by the end of January 2023. Otherwise, they have to leave the company.
According to Area 120 lead Elias Roman, the division aims to sharpen its focus to only AI-first projects, as opposed to its earlier mandate to fuel product incubation across all of Google.
“Area 120 is an in-house incubator for experimental new products. The group regularly starts and stops projects with an eye toward pursuing the most promising opportunities,” a Google spokesperson said. “We’ve recently shared that Area 120 will be shifting its focus to projects that build on Google’s deep investment in AI and have the potential to solve important user problems. As a result, Area 120 is winding down several projects to make way for new work. Impacted team members will receive dedicated support as they explore new projects and opportunities at Google.”
One of the projects now being cut with the changes is Qaya launched late last year. Qaya is a service offering web storefronts for digital creators. The other six projects being cancelled weren’t yet launched. However, it included a financial accounting project for Google Sheets, another shopping-related product, analytics for AR/VR, and, unfortunately, three climate-related projects.