Many companies have R&D departments. This is where companies try out new and potentially outlandish ideas that could eventually be turned into commercial products and services. Google is one of them and many might know the company’s famed Area 120 department.
Unfortunately, it looks like Google’s R&D is about to get a lot leaner because according to a report from TechCrunch, it appears that Google has killed off pretty much half of its ongoing projects over at Area 120. The report claimed that there were 14 projects ongoing at Area 120, but now there will only be seven.
Affected employees will now have to find a new position within Google by January 2023 otherwise they will be terminated. In response to the report, a Google spokesperson released a statement to the publication which reads:
“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. 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.”
This move shouldn’t be too surprising. At the Code Conference last week, Google CEO Sundar Pichai made a statement that said the company needed to become 20% more efficient, which many took to mean that the company could be reducing their headcount in an effort to cut costs and run leaner.
It’s hard to say if any of the projects at Area 120 would have become actual products or services, but we guess we’ll never know now.