Google laid off hundreds of workers across multiple divisions on Wednesday night, seeking to cut expenses as it focuses on artificial intelligence and joining a wave of other companies cutting technology jobs this year.

The Silicon Valley company laid off employees in its main engineering division, as well as those who work on Google Assistant, a voice-operated virtual assistant, and in the hardware division that makes the Pixel phone, Fitbit watches and thermostat. Nest, three people with knowledge of the cuts said.

Several hundred employees in the company’s central engineering organization lost corporate access and received notices that their roles had been eliminated, two of the people said.

“We have had to make some difficult decisions about the continued employment of some Google employees and we regret to inform you that your position is being eliminated,” the company told some workers in the division, according to a text reviewed by The New York Times.

Google confirmed cuts to Assistant, previously reported by Semafor, and hardware layoffs, previously reported by the 9to5Google blog.

“We are responsibly investing in our company’s biggest priorities and the important opportunities ahead,” a Google spokesperson said in a statement. After cuts during the second half of 2023, “some teams continue to make these types of organizational changes, including some role eliminations globally.”

The cuts continue a trend of tech layoffs, after big companies like Google, Meta and Amazon laid off thousands of workers last year. Ten days into this year, more companies have announced job cuts. Earlier Wednesday, Amazon laid off hundreds of workers at its streaming service Twitch, Prime Video and MGM studios. Xerox said this month it would cut 15 percent of its 23,000-person staff, and video game software provider Unity Software said it would eliminate 1,800 positions, or 25 percent of its workforce.

At Google, CEO Sundar Pichai has pressured the company since July 2022 to sharpen its focus and reduce expenses as global economic conditions deteriorate. In January 2023, Google laid off 6 percent of its workforce, or 12,000 people, in the largest layoffs the company has ever made. Company executives have since said they will try to significantly reduce costs as it focuses on the growing field of generative artificial intelligence.

Google, which had 182,000 employees as of Sept. 30, said Wednesday’s layoffs were part of a series of reorganizations that were made in the normal course of its business.

The Alphabet Workers Union, a group representing more than 1,400 workers at Google parent company Alphabet, described the layoffs as “unnecessary.”

“Our members and teammates work hard every day to create great products for our users, and the company can’t keep laying off our coworkers while making billions every quarter,” the group said in a post on the site. of social networks

mike isaac contributed with reports.