Google to lay off 100 recruitment staff and close offices

Google will lay off 100 of its recruitment staff and close three engineering offices as it contends with the weakening US economy.

In an official blog post, it was announced that a number of recruitment cuts were necessary as the company shifts its focus away from hiring new staff.

The lay-offs come on top of a number of external recruitment contracts which were ended late last year.

In the blog, Lazlo Bock, Google's vice-president of people operations, said: "Google is still hiring but at a reduced rate. Given the state of the economy, we recognized that we needed fewer people focused on hiring."

The 100 jobs represent about 25% of Google's in-house recruitment team and less than 1% of its total staff. The company also said it intends to find jobs for the affected staff in-house.

The company has developed a reputation for large hiring sprees and lavish staff perks. Due to the recession it has trimmed back on many of its employee benefits, including a reduced number of free staff meals and a low-key holiday celebration.

In a separate blog post, Google's senior vice-president of engineering and research Alan Eustace said that the company is also closing its engineering office in Austin, Texas and separate offices in Norway and Sweden, affecting about 70 engineers.

Google is inviting these staff to move offices or leave the company. Presently, it has over 40 engineering offices in over 20 countries.

Last September, Google closed its engineering office in Phoenix, Arizona and asked staff to move other offices, which "a vast majority" had done.

In the blog, Alan Eustace said: "Our long-term goal is not to trim the number of people we have working on engineering projects or reduce our global presence, but create a smaller number of more effective engineering sites, which will ensure that innovation and speed remain at our core."

Google also announced it is closing or restricting access to a number of its web services, including Google Catalogs, Notebooks and Mashup Editor.

Google Video, which has been under scrutiny since Google's purchase of YouTube in 2006, will now have its upload capabilities disabled, but users will still be able to watch previously uploaded content.

Other Google products, including Jaiku -- a Twitter-like service -- will remain online, but will no longer be developed by Google. Jaiku will continue operations under a team of volunteers.

Dodgeball, which connects friends via mobile phones, will be shut down within the first half of 2009.

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