Repost from Facebook. Google lays off its entire python team

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Repost from Facebook. Google lays off its entire python team

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Last Friday, Alphabet, Google's parent company, unveiled its first-quarter financial report, showing revenue of $805.39 billion, a 15% increase from the previous year's $697.87 billion, marking the fastest growth since early 2022. This impressive growth allowed Google to join the prestigious "2 Trillion Club." Despite these promising figures, significant changes within Google, especially concerning its Python infrastructure team, have sparked widespread concern and confusion.

1.  AI Investments and Unexpected Layoffs

Google has been a frontrunner in artificial intelligence (AI) development, integrating generative AI features across its search and various services. Sundar Pichai, Googleโ€™s CEO, highlighted the critical role of AI in their strategy, stating, "Our leadership in AI research and infrastructure, coupled with our global product footprint, prepares us for the next wave of AI innovation."

However, in a surprising move, Google decided to lay off its entire Python infrastructure team. This decision seems counterintuitive given the company's heavy reliance on AI, a field where Python is a pivotal programming language. A comment on HackerNews summarized the situation succinctly: Google is an AI-first company; AI is written in Python; yet, Google laid off its entire Python team.

 2. Rebuilding in Munich: A Cost-Cutting Strategy

The news of the layoffs was first shared by Thomas Wouters, a Google Python engineer and a member of the Python Steering Committee. He revealed that the entire Python team, including his manager, was laid off and that the team was being replaced by a new team based in Munich, Germany. This restructuring seems to be a cost-cutting measure, moving jobs to a location with potentially lower labor costs.

Wouters' disclosure on social media emphasized the emotional toll of the layoffs and the challenging task of onboarding replacements who were equally unhappy about the transition. He also hinted at the broader implications of this move, reflecting on the shortcomings of capitalism and expressing solidarity with the affected colleagues.

 The Vital Role of Google's Python Team

The Python team's responsibilities at Google were extensive and critical. An industry insider elaborated on their duties, which included:

1. Maintaining Internal Python Versions: Ensuring compatibility across Google's monolithic codebase and managing upgrades from Python 2.7 to newer versions like Python 3.6 and 3.11.
2. Managing Third-Party Packages : Keeping thousands of packages updated and handling modifications specific to Google's needs.
3.  Customizing Tools : Adapting tools like pylint and black to fit Google's coding style.
4. Contributing to Open Source : Working on projects like pybind11 and developing Python build system rules.
5. Supporting C++ Integration : Maintaining tools for seamless C++ integration with Python.
6. Developing Type Checkers : Creating tools like pytype for inferring types in vast codebases.
7. Automated Refactoring : Overseeing automated refactoring of hundreds of millions of lines of code.

The Python team, although understaffed with fewer than 10 members, was instrumental in ensuring the stability and efficiency of Python usage within Google. They provided vital support to various teams, including machine learning, AI, Colaboratory, Google Cloud, and YouTube.

 3. Uncertainty for the Flutter Team

In addition to the Python team, rumors have surfaced about the Flutter team also facing potential layoffs. Flutter, an open-source UI software development kit created by Google, has its share of critics and supporters. Kevin, the product manager for Flutter and Dart, addressed these concerns, acknowledging the layoffs but reassuring the community of ongoing support and development for Flutter and Dart.

Despite these reassurances, the history of Google's discontinuation of numerous products (as chronicled on the "Killed by Google" website) has left many users wary. Concerns have been raised about the future of Flutter, with some users expressing a reluctance to invest in Google products if another major tool like Flutter were to be discontinued.


Google's recent layoffs of its Python infrastructure team, despite its robust financial performance and heavy investment in AI, have raised significant questions about the company's strategic direction. The relocation of jobs to Munich as a cost-cutting measure and the uncertain future of the Flutter team add to the unease among developers and industry insiders. As Google continues to navigate its AI-driven future, the decisions made now will likely have lasting impacts on its developer community and product ecosystem.

cybershield ( Chirag khatri  )