Skyline photo of Manhattan, NY
Pedestrians and bicyclist crossing Brooklyn bridge
everyday people crossing at intersection in NYC
street scene of NYC with bicycle delivery person in foreground
NY Skyline at dusk
May 8, 2024

Legal News

May 8, 2024

The Reshaping of Google's Core: Global Shifts and Local Challenges

by Jaleel Menifee

Google has recently implemented significant changes within its "Core" unit—a central team responsible for the foundational technology behind its flagship products. This restructuring involves the termination of at least 200 positions, primarily in engineering, from its Sunnyvale, California, offices. Concurrently, the company plans to relocate some of these roles to burgeoning tech hubs in India and Mexico, signaling a strategic pivot towards more cost-effective and globally distributed workforce locations.

The Core unit is vital to Google’s operations, focusing on technical infrastructure, security foundations, app platforms, and more. This shift comes despite the company experiencing its fastest growth rate since early 2022, with Alphabet, Google's parent company, announcing a robust 15%increase in first-quarter revenue and initiating its first-ever dividend alongside a substantial $70 billion buyback.

This reorganization reflects broader trends within Alphabet, which began reducing its workforce significantly last year due to a downturn in the online advertising market. Although digital advertising has seen a recovery, Alphabet continues to streamline its operations, with recent layoffs spanning multiple departments.

The decision to relocate jobs overseas is driven by several factors. Lower labor costs in India and Brazil, for example, offer economic advantages, while positioning teams closer to burgeoning markets can enhance responsiveness and innovation. This strategy was articulated by Asim Husain, vice president of Google Developer Ecosystem, who emphasized the goal of operating closer to partners and developer communities. Husain also noted that these changes are aimed at aligning with the company's broader goals and improving efficiency.

Furthermore, these organizational changes are occurring amidst a backdrop of increasing regulatory scrutiny, particularly in relation to developments in artificial intelligence. The European Union's recent Digital Markets Act, aimed at curbing anti-competitive practices, represents just one aspect of the regulatory challenges Google faces. These challenges necessitate a more agile and responsive organizational structure to navigate the complexities of global tech governance.

This reorganization also comes at a time when Google is increasingly integrating artificial intelligence into its products. With generative AI reaching what Husain describes as an "inflection point," the reshaping of the Core team appears aligned with Google's push towards innovation in AI, highlighted by the recent rebrand of its chatbot to Gemini.

As Google prepares for its upcoming annual developer conference, Google I/O, these changes signify a strategic realignment with potential long-term benefits. However, they also pose immediate challenges in terms of employee morale and the practicalities of global workforce management. Despite the uncertainties, Google's approach reflects a nuanced strategy of balancing cost management with innovative potential, aiming to sustain its competitive edge in a rapidly evolving digital landscape.

The attorneys at Outside Legal Counsel LLP specializes in all employer-employee related matters and represent both employers and employees. Our aim is to ensure that all employment-related decisions are made with an eye towards avoiding liability. Please reach out to us for more information about our services and how we can help you navigate this rapidly changing landscape.

This is not legal advice and is attorney advertising.

back to news

Disclaimer: Nothing on this website is or should be construed as legal advice. An attorney-client relationship does not exist with our firm unless a signed retainer agreement is executed, and we do not offer legal advice through this site or any of the content located on it. For legal advice for your particular circumstances, please contact us directly.