One could argue Google bought Jaiku and Dodgeball, because of the hype of social networking services, which as a whole haven't brought in a lot of money.
While it is probable that many of the engineers on this project will be shunted off to different projects more core to Google's mission of organizing the world's information, Web services and applications aren't the only thing to get trimmed.
Because Google is hiring at a reduced rate, Google Vice President of People Operations Lazlo Bock said Google needs fewer people focused on hiring. So, in addition to winding down contracts with external contractors and vendors providing recruiting services for Google, the company is eliminating 100 recruiting jobs.
Moreover, shuttering its Phoenix office and moving those engineers to other Google offices last September, Google is moving some 70 programmers from Austin, Texas; Trondheim, Norway; and Lulea, Sweden, to other facilities. Alan Eustace, senior vice president of engineering and research at Google wrote in a post:
"Our strong desire is to keep as many of these 70 engineering employees at Google as possible. However, we do recognize the upheaval and heartache that these changes may have on Google families, and that we may not be able to keep 100% of these exceptional employees."
If the online ad market begins to drag more during the recession, financial analysts might suspect to read more of these statements from Google, which as the search ad leader is the Internet company best positioned to weather the wintry economic climate.
Google reports fourth quarter and 2008 fiscal year earnings one week from today, Jan. 22 after the bell. Expect financial analysts to be combing the earnings release and hawking Schmidt on the conference call for more detail not only into Google's progress, but the market landscape.
The question remains: What will get cut next? Will it be public relations and sales people, or perhaps some of Google's thousands of engineers? For services, if Jaiku is getting ported, what about Zingku, which Google bought in September 2007 as another mobile social networking service?
What fate awaits Google's knol expert advice service? What about SearchWiki, another bid to let consumers customize search? The GrandCentral VOIP service? What is your money on to get cut next?