Correct placement and orientation of the mitotic spindle is essential for segregation of localized components and positioning of daughter cells. Although these processes are important in many cells, few factors that regulate spindle placement are known. Previous work has shown that GPB-1, the Gbeta subunit of a heterotrimeric G protein, is required for orientation of early cell division axes in C. elegans embryos. Here we show that GOA-1 (a Galphao) and the related GPA-16 are the functionally redundant Galpha subunits and that GPC-2 is the relevant Ggamma subunit that is required for spindle orientation in the early embryo. We show that Galpha and Gbetagamma are involved in controlling distinct microtubule-dependent processes. Gbetagamma is important in regulating migration of the centrosome around the nucleus and hence in orientating the mitotic spindle. Galpha is required for asymmetric spindle positioning in the one-celled embryo.