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Google merges its Waze and Maps teams into one in latest cost-cutting measure

The restructuring may lead to Waze losing its independence.

Published onDecember 8, 2022

Waze stock image 5
Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority
  • Google is still searching for ways to make the company more cost-efficient.
  • The latest cost-cutting measure will see its Waze and Maps teams become a single unit.
  • The restructuring doesn’t bode well for Waze’s independence.

Earlier this year, Google CEO, Sundar Pichai, set off on a cost-cutting mission to make the company more efficient. Since then, we’ve seen the company bring an end to Stadia, half of Area 120’s projects, the Pixel laptop, and more. The latest cost-cutting measure, however, will have its Google Maps and Waze teams merge into one.

As reported by The Wall Street Journal, Google is combining the 500-person Waze team with its Google Maps team. The decision to merge the two teams appears to be an attempt to eliminate overlapping mapmaking work across its Waze and Maps products.

Given the similarity between both products, there are a lot of areas where the two overlap. Both Waze and Maps offer navigation help, world maps, and places of interest. But Waze’s defining feature is its crowdsourced reporting of things like road hazards or speed traps.

According to the report, a Google spokesperson told The Wall Street Journal that things are fine and “Google remains deeply committed to Waze’s unique brand, its beloved app, and its thriving community of volunteers and users.” Google’s PR also claimed that the company plans on keeping Waze as a stand-alone service.

While all of that sounds fine on the surface, if you dig a little deeper, this restructuring doesn’t bode well for Waze continuing to operate as an independent company. This situation isn’t far off from what happened with Nest.

As a refresher, Nest was acquired by Google back in 2014 and continued to act as an independent company for a little while. Eventually, the company merged with the Google Hardware team and lost its status as an independent company.

It’s likely a similar fate awaits Waze after this restructuring as it becomes less clear as to why the two apps remain separate. But for now, we’ll just have to wait and see if Google does commit to keeping Waze as its own thing.