What you need to know
- Google is apparently merging the teams behind Maps and Waze.
- The move means that Waze's current CEO, Neha Parikh, will step down.
- Google does not intend to lay off employees from the Waze team as part of a broader cost-cutting measure.
Waze has maintained complete autonomy since being acquired by Google in 2013, with the team working independently from its parent company, but that's no longer the case. On Friday, December 9, Google folded the team into its Geo business.
According to The Wall Street Journal, the restructuring is part of Google's larger effort to cut costs by streamlining the business. Waze will continue to operate as a separate app from Google Maps, though it's being merged into the Geo organization, which oversees Maps, Google Earth, and Street View. The merger will result in less overlapping work on both services.
Waze's 500 employees will also join Google's Geo group, which means no layoffs are being planned for the team. Unfortunately, the reorganization means that Waze CEO Neha Parikh will leave her role, a company spokesperson told WSJ.
Google's parent firm, Alphabet, acquired Waze in 2013 for around $1 billion. At present, the platform serves approximately 150 million monthly users. While it has remained independent, some of its popular features have been ported over to Maps, such as the ability to report nearby gas prices, get traffic slowdown alerts, and add stops to your route.
"Google remains deeply committed to Waze’s unique brand, its beloved app and its thriving community of volunteers and users,” Waze’s head of PR, Caroline Bourdeau, told The Verge.
In September, Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai said that he wanted to make Google 20% more efficient by becoming leaner and dependent on fewer resources.
Many tech behemoths have implemented their own cost-cutting measures in response to uncertain global economic challenges, which have mostly involved mass layoffs. Meta laid off more than 11,000 employees following a similar move by Twitter. Amazon's employees at its Devices & Services division weren't spared either.
While the latest move has raised concerns among Waze employees, Google reiterates that it does not intend to terminate existing staff at the service. "By bringing the Waze team into Geo’s portfolio of real-world mapping products, like Google Maps, Google Earth and Street View, the teams will benefit from further increased technical collaboration," Bourdeau told The Verge.
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Jay Bonggolto always keeps a nose for news. He has been writing about consumer tech and apps for as long as he can remember, and he has used a variety of Android phones since falling in love with Jelly Bean. Send him a direct message via Twitter or LinkedIn.