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It might be avoiding the splashy announcement of thousands of retrenchments in one hit a la Microsoft, but Google is steadily paring back its workforce.

The first round of layoffs at Google occurred last northern spring, with 300 people let go following the DoubleClick acquisition. It's not unusual for redundancies to occur in such situations, but it was reportedly the first time Google felt the need to shed staff.

Another round occurred in November 2008. 100 jobs were lost in the company's recruitment operation, reflecting a slowdown in hiring as the international economy turned sour.

The new year saw an unspecified percentage of 70 engineering staff cut loose as part of a program to consolidate certain sites.

Behind the scenes, Google has been shedding contractors and other temporary workers. According to WebGuild as many as 6000 such positions had been lost, as evidenced by the company reporting 30,000 employees in November 2008 and only 24,400 in December.

However, the Associated Press report cited by WebGuild stated a Google spokesperson claimed that it would be incorrect to conclude the difference between the two figures reflected the total number of people cut by Google.

Mind you, the spokesperson declined to state how many contractors had been dropped, so it's tempting to assume the worst.

So, who are the latest Googlers to feel the axe? Please read on.

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Stephen Withers

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Stephen Withers is one of Australia¹s most experienced IT journalists, having begun his career in the days of 8-bit 'microcomputers'. He covers the gamut from gadgets to enterprise systems. In previous lives he has been an academic, a systems programmer, an IT support manager, and an online services manager. Stephen holds an honours degree in Management Sciences, a PhD in Industrial and Business Studies, and is a senior member of the Australian Computer Society.

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