Although Waze and Google Maps serve roughly the same purpose, Google has always maintained Waze’s independence. As a reminder, it was in 2013 that the Mountain View firm bought the Israeli application. And since, although Waze is owned by Google, it is developed by a separate team from that of Google Maps.
But soon, that will change. Indeed, as reported by the Wall Street Journal, Google has decided to integrate the team that develops Waze with that of Google Maps and other Google navigation services.
A reorganization within Google
More precisely, 500 employees who are currently part of the Waze team will integrate the “Geo” division of Google, which includes the developers of Google Maps, Google Earth and Street View. This will be effective from Friday.
Neha Parikh, the current CEO of Waze, will lose his job. But Google ensures that despite this reorganization, no layoffs are planned. And (for now) Google is committed to Waze continuing to exist (and not being swallowed up by the Google Maps app), despite the teams merging.
Teams merge, but apps don’t
“Google remains deeply committed to Waze’s unique brand, beloved app, and thriving community of volunteers and users”said a Google representative.
Waze is therefore not about to join Google’s application cemetery. However, the idea behind this merger of teams is to reduce redundancies in mapping work.
In essence, Google will pool the resources of Waze and Google Maps, in order to reduce its costs. Indeed, although Google is not as affected by the crisis as Meta, it must also tighten its belt.
Like everyone else, Google must reduce its costs because of the macroeconomic context. And avoiding redundancies is part of the measures taken by the group.
Other apps or services will simply disappear
As mentioned above, the Waze application is not going away. Apparently, this one is still very important to Google. According to the Wall Street Journal, Waze now has 151 million users worldwide.
Unfortunately, other, less popular products are being killed by Google. This is the case of Stadia, its cloud gaming service. Announced with great fanfare, the platform ultimately did not have the expected success. And today, Google is refunding purchases made by gamers.
Recently, we also mentioned the end of the development of Duplex on the web, a service based on artificial intelligence which allows Internet users to order products or services on the web without filling in forms (since it is the AI who does it for him).
And if the crisis continues, it is possible that Google will still make other announcements to reduce its costs.