Area 120, the internal Google incubator responsible for products such as Checks, Tables, Stack and ThreadBite, has been significantly hit by wider layoffs at Alphabet, Google’s parent company. A spokesperson told TechCrunch via email that the majority of the Area 120 team has been “trimmed down” and that only three projects in the division will transition to core Google product areas later this year.
The spokesperson did not say which specific projects were closed or graduated. Previously, Area 120 incubated drivers like ThreadIt workplace video platform, Orion spectrum marketplace, Stack document scanner, and more. At any given time, he usually had about 20 projects in the works, although not all of them were made public.
“Employees in the United States who have been affected have been notified [of layoffs at Area 120], but in other countries, this process will take longer and is subject to local laws and practices,” the spokesperson added. “Our Managing Partner of Area 120 stay in the business.
Area 120 was created by Alphabet and Google CEO Sundar Pichai in March 2016 with the goal of building experimental apps and services that could then be integrated into established profit engines. Over the years, the division has launched a number of successful products, including the HTML5 gaming platform GameSnacks (now integrated into Google Chrome), AI-powered conversational ads platform Ad Lingo (which was released on Google Cloud) and video platforms Tangi and Purchase loop (which is output to Google Search and Shopping).
Area 120 underwent a reorganization in 2021 that saw the group move into a new Google Labs division led by Clay Bavor, where he lived alongside other prospective Google efforts related to augmented reality, virtual reality and in the videoconference. Then came the cuts. Last September, Google canceled half of Area 120 projects and significantly reduced the program’s staff.
A source previously told TechCrunch that Area 120 had fewer than 100 employees after the previous round of cuts. Google declined to confirm the number.
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