Google headquarters in Mountain View, California. 


James Martin/CNET

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As the coronavirus pandemic continues to take a toll on the economy, Google is cutting its marketing budgets by as much as half for the second half of 2020, according to a report Thursday by CNBC.

The news comes a week after CEO Sundar Pichai told employees the company is slowing down hiring for the remainder of the year, as the search giant focuses on a few important categories. 

“As we outlined last week, we are re-evaluating the pace of our investment plans for the remainder of 2020 and will focus on a select number of important marketing efforts,” a Google spokeswoman said in a statement Thursday. “We continue to have a robust marketing budget, particularly in digital, in many business areas.”

While people all over the world shelter in place to combat the spread of COVID-19, the global economy faces a downturn. The tech industry, with giant corporations that have at times been valued at more than $1 trillion, hasn’t been immune. Google and Facebook could face slumps in advertising — the lifeblood of both companies — as travel and entertainment ads disappear and people cancel trips and vacations. 

Google is set to announce its first quarter earnings on Tuesday, giving the public its first look at what effects the pandemic might be having on the search giant’s business. 

Last week, Pichai said Google would “dial back” plans in areas that aren’t critical to the company’s success. He said the company had hired 20,000 people in 2019, and would’ve been poised for similar growth this year. People who have already been hired, he said, could also see delays in starting work because of difficulties in providing them with training or equipment, like laptops or security keys.


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