Google Is Combining Its Maps and Waze Teams Amid Cost-Cutting Pressure

Alphabet, Inc. announced Waze employees will be merging with the Geo team at Google beginning on Friday.

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Waze employees is merging with Google's Geo team on December 9, 2022
Image: Justin Sullivan (Getty Images)

Google’s parent company, Alphabet Inc., announced it’s doing some restructuring to merge Google Maps and Waze employees amid pressures to streamline the business and cut costs. The company has said both mapping apps will continue to operate independently.

The merge will take effect on Friday, December 9, and while Google has said it does not have plans for layoffs, the move is expected to shift Waze’s 500 employees to Google’s Geo organization, which manages Google Maps, Google Earth, and Street View.

“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.

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She added, “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.”

Following the restructuring, Waze CEO Neha Parikh is expected to gradually leave the company, a company spokesperson told The Wall Street Journal. Parikh previously worked as the president of Hotwire, Inc. and joined Waze as CEO in June 2021.

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Alphabet, Inc. acquired Waze in 2013 for just over $1 billion, becoming the company’s fourth-largest deal at the time, according to the Silicon Business Journal. Waze boasts an estimated 150 million monthly users who actively utilize the mapping service and has worked to build up its advertising in recent years.

Waze continues to operate independently from Google Maps and will continue to do so, according to Alphabet, Inc. After acquiring Waze, Google did integrated some of the popular features into its own mapping service. The features include reporting nearby gas prices, speed traps, traffic slowdown alerts, and adding stops along your route.

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Google’s announcement to merge Google and Waze employees comes as Google CEO Sundar Pichai has slowed the company’s expansion due in part to decreasing growth in advertising this year.

The company reported a revenue of nearly $69.1 billion in the third quarter this year, up 6% from 2021. Its advertising revenue also grew by only 2.5% compared to last year’s growth of 41%. In September, Pichai said he hoped to make Google 20% more productive and said he was considering merging teams to work on overlapping products.

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In a statement accompanying the growth results, Pichai said, “We’re sharpening our focus on a clear set of product and business priorities. We are focused on both investing responsibly for the long term and being responsive to the economic environment.”