Google is merging the team it has working on the navigation app Waze into the same group that oversees Google Maps, the company has announced. The Wall Street Journal reports that the move is not expected to mark the end of Waze as a separate service, and no layoffs are planned as part of the reorganization. However, Waze CEO Neha Parikh is expected to leave the role after the transition, and the move is expected to reduce overlapping work, the WSJ notes.
Going forward, Waze’s 500 employees are expected to be a part of Google’s Geo organization, which oversees Maps alongside Earth and Street View.
Google acquired Waze almost a decade ago
“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, tells The Verge in a statement. “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.” The WSJ reports that the merger will start on Friday, December 9th.
Since Google acquired the service for a little over $1 billion in 2013, Waze has remained relatively independent from Google’s original Maps service, with former CEO Noam Bardin writing that “Google was true to their promise and gave us this autonomy” after his departure in 2021. Waze has around 151 million monthly active users, the WSJ notes, and focuses on providing detailed traffic data for drivers.
But in September, Google CEO Sundar Pichai said that he was working to make the company more productive, and there’s also been pressure from activist investors to reduce costs. Merging overlapping product areas was one of the examples Pichai gave as a way to achieve this, and it’s hoped this restructuring should achieve something similar for Google’s mapping products.