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Google Says Goodbye to Hire

The tech giant's small-biz ATS is shutting down

A group of bicycles parked in front of a google building.

​Google announced that it will be discontinuing its Hire by Google applicant tracking system (ATS) and recruiting software on Sept. 1, 2020.

Just two years old, Hire by Google was primarily marketed to small and midsize businesses as a simplified ATS that easily integrates into Google's G Suite of offerings—Gmail, Google Calendar and Google Docs.  

"While Hire has been successful, we're focusing our resources on other products in the Google Cloud portfolio," the announcement read.  

Additional details from the announcement include:

  • Customers can continue to use Hire until the end of their contract or Sept. 1, 2020, whichever comes first. The product will be fully supported until its sunset date, but there are no new features forthcoming.
  • Customers will not receive any additional charges for usage after their next bill.
  • Contracts can be terminated immediately without penalty.
  • Google will assist in migrating applicant and candidate data to another recruiting platform for free. "Google offers free Hire data-export service to all customers under a current contract," the company said. "Our standard export format is JSON, which is supported by most popular ATSs."

[SHRM members-only platform: SHRM Connect]

The 'Google Graveyard'

Google Hire is the latest casualty in a long line of products that have met an early demise due to the company's turning its attention to new ideas—leading many to joke about a "Google graveyard."  

And while an innovator like Google might be expected to sunset products from time to time (and industry experts warned from the beginning this could happen to Hire), it seemed like Hire was growing firm roots.  

"Google shutting down services is not new. But they had happy clients paying for [Hire}, they just launched an enterprise version, and marketing for it has never slowed," said Joel Cheesman, a recruiting technology industry veteran and co-host of the popular Chad & Cheese Podcast.

One theory behind the decision to sunset Hire has to do with its creation. Hire was developed by a team from Bebop, a technology startup run by VMware founder Diane Greene and acquired by Google in 2015. The theory goes that Greene and her senior software developers were the real "get" of the acquisition and could boost Google's enterprise cloud business. Greene led Google's Cloud division but left the role earlier this year, leaving Hire by Google an orphan.

Cheesman has another theory, based on the recent news that the company's job search tool Google for Jobs is under the microscope in the European Union (EU) over concerns about anti-competitive practices. The European Commission is conducting a preliminary antitrust investigation into Google for Jobs after nearly two dozen rival job search sites across Europe sent a letter earlier this month urging a formal investigation.

"Google shutting down Hire feels too sudden," Cheesman said. "My guess is the complaint out of the EU grabbed the attention of the corporate lawyers, which led to looking at the books, and a decision was made that the risk wasn't worth the reward. The ax followed."


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