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Google quietly ices contractors

Keeps hush-hush SEC filing off the interwebs

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Internet giant Google quietly got rid of an unspecified number of contract workers late last year.

Mountain View’s spending plans were outlined in a 15 December Securities and Exchange Commission filing that was submitted only in paper form and therefore flew under the radar of the various web services that track SEC filings.

The Associated Press obtained a copy of the records earlier this week. It reported today that Google, which currently employs 24,400 people, kept a section of the filing confidential, claiming it contained trade secrets.

As a result it doesn’t reveal how many interns, contractors and temp workers had been dumped of the 4,300 non-permanent staff it cites in the filing.

In October Google co-founder Sergey Brin told the San Jose Mercury News that the web kingpin had around 10,000 contractors on its books. However, a Google spokeswoman told AP yesterday that hacks shouldn’t conclude that the difference between the two figures represented how many people had been culled under the plans.

She declined to specify how many contractors the company had purged.

The filing revealed that Google has applied for exemption from rules that would regulate the firm “as a mutual fund if its investment activities diversify too far beyond government securities and other relatively low-yielding instruments such as money market accounts,” said AP.

In November Google said it would significantly cull the number of contractors it had on its books, and that it wouldn’t wield the job axe at its full-time staff. ®

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