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Big changes at Google: Pixel, Nest, and Fitbit teams to merge under one hardware umbrella

Fitbit leaders are also leaving the company and around a thousand employees are getting pink slipped.

Published onJanuary 11, 2024

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Rita El Khoury / Android Authority
  • Google is consolidating its hardware teams into a single team handling Pixel, Nest, and Fitbit devices.
  • The company has also laid off around a thousand employees.
  • Fitbit co-founders James Park and Eric Friedman are leaving the company and hundreds of AR employees are being laid off.

Google is organizing a major restructuring of its hardware teams. According to a 9to5Google report confirmed by Google, the company will be merging its Pixel, Nest, and Fitbit hardware teams. Many in the hardware team are also getting laid off, amongst hundreds from other divisions.

Currently, all three teams operate separately, making standalone decisions on things like design, software, hardware engineering, etc. As part of the new reorganization, these operations will come under one single hardware team responsible for products across Google’s smartphone, wearables, and smart home verticals. The merged Google hardware team will also come under a single leader.

Google didn’t say why it’s reorganizing the hardware teams and it remains to be seen whether the shuffle would result in a more cohesive and integrated product lineup going forward.

Meanwhile, Google will also be losing Fitbit co-founders James Park and Eric Friedman amongst other crucial Fitbit leaders. The executives first came to the company when Google completed the Fitbit takeover in 2021. Park played a key role in the launch of the Pixel Watch and also presented the Pixel Watch 2 last October.

For what it’s worth, a Google spokesperson confirmed to The Verge that Fitbit will live on despite the high-level exits.

“We remain very committed to serving our Fitbit users well, innovating in the health space with personal AI, and building on the momentum with Pixel Watch, the redesigned Fitbit app, Fitbit Premium service, and the Fitbit tracker line. This work will continue to be a key part of our new org model,” said Google’s Courtenay Mencini.

More layoffs at Google

Google will also lay off hundreds of employees from its AR development teams, signaling that it’s done trying to make its own AR hardware. The company decided to pivot to AR software development for partners last year. It’s currently working with Samsung on its upcoming XR headset.

Hundreds in the Google Assistant team are also getting the axe. Google told Semafor is eliminating a number of roles in its knowledge and information product teams. The company said the restructuring will help improve Assistant as it looks to adopt more AI features.

The New York Times reports Google has also pink-slipped employees in its core engineering division.

“We’re responsibly investing in our company’s biggest priorities and the significant opportunities ahead,” a Google spokesman said in a statement.

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