Google’s parent company Alphabet just hinted that it might cut back on some projects

Larry Page Sergey Brin
Google founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page Getty / Michael Nagle

Google parent company Alphabet is taking a hard look at the various projects underway at the company, hinting that the company could be scaling back, or even potentially cutting, certain initiatives.

During the company’s Q1 earnings call on Thursday, Alphabet CFO Ruth Porat mentioned twice the company was taking steps to “rationalize” the products and projects that the company develops.

“In certain areas where we have had multiple teams developing different approaches to a similar technology, we have been evaluating how to rationalize these approaches, enabling us to increase investments around a smaller, more focused set of opportunities,” Porat said.

The comments come as Alphabet’s total headcount swelled by roughly 9,000 year-on-year, and as expenses crept up during Q1, causing the company to miss Wall Street’s profit targets.

There are already signs that Alphabet is reining in various projects, including reports that it is selling its Boston Dynamics robotics group, and the recent move to merge two separate drone efforts within the company.

Investors have long worried about Google’s spending, especially given the company’s penchant for investing in so-called moonshot projects — from self driving cars to internet beaming balloons — that aren’t directly related to its online advertising business.

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