Google Maps and Waze teams merged due to cost cutting

As we’ve seen throughout the tech industry, costs are being cut and it has led to mass layoffs. However, Google has announced it is merging its Google Maps and Waze teams – they will still remain separate and no layoffs are expected. According to the company, this is to reduce redundancy and duplication of work across the two products, but it is still committed to Waze’s unique brand.

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“Google remains deeply committed to Waze’s unique brand, its beloved app and its thriving community of volunteers and users,” a spokesperson told the WSJ. Waze CEO Neha Parikh will leave her role after a transition period, but there will reportedly be no layoffs. Starting this Friday, the 500-strong Waze team will join Google’s Geo organization in charge of Maps, Earth and Street View.

Google acquired Waze back in 2013 for the tidy sum of $1.1 billion, and has started implementing shared features between Waze and Google Maps. However, it has always committed to keeping the teams and business separate, if for nothing more to avoid anti-trust investigations. Waze’s traffic data started appearing in Maps shortly after the acquisition, with speed limits, radar locations and other features arriving later. In return, Waze has benefited from Google’s know-how in search.

It doesn’t sound like everything is rosy at Waze since the acquisition, however, looking at CEO Noam Bardim LinkedIn post from last year. “All of our growth at Waze post acquisition was from work we did, not support from the mothership. Looking back, we could have probably grown faster and much more efficiently had we stayed independent,” he said.

At the time of writing Waze has about 151 million monthly active users while Google Maps is serving about 1 billion monthly users. Waze has seen success particularly in Europe, thanks to its crowd-sourcing nature in getting information about live traffic.