Google is merging the Google Maps and Waze teams

The reason is to reduce expenses, the applications will remain separate.

Dec 9, 2022 - 18:15
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Google is merging the Google Maps and Waze teams

On Thursday night, the Wall Street Journal reported that Google intends to unite the teams working on the navigation tool Waze and the mapping service Google Maps. The push to streamline operations and decrease expenses is the reason for this unexpected step.

According to a spokeswoman, Waze's more than 500 employees will be integrated into the Geo division, which manages the Maps, Earth, and Street View products. After a transition phase, Waze CEO Neha Parikh will step down. Google stated that it intends to preserve Waze as a standalone service and that there will be no layoffs as part of the reorganization.

"Google remains deeply committed to Waze's unique brand, its popular app, and its thriving community of volunteers and users," a spokeswoman said in a statement. Existing Waze users are very loyal and would very likely look elsewhere if the two apps were merged.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai is searching for ways to increase efficiency after slower advertising growth this year. He stated in September that he wants Google to be 20% more productive and hinted that the corporation would consolidate teams working on similar items.

Google paid 1.1 billion dollars for Waze in 2013, making it the company's fourth-largest acquisition. The deal aroused the attention of regulators, notably the Federal Trade Commission, who finally opted not to oppose it.

Currently, 151 million monthly active users utilize Waze navigation. Its popularity stems mostly from the information that drivers may exchange and an overview of the current traffic condition, which it uses to create ideal routes with the least amount of time lost.

Waze is ready to expand to other vehicles and brands

The app has chosen to collaborate with French automaker Renault to produce a new, car-specific edition of the app. The latest version of the app is now accessible in the Austral Hybrid and Megane E-Tech EV models' infotainment systems via Google integration.

Of course, you can already use Waze on Android Auto by installing it as a smartphone app. What has changed now? Renault drivers may now install the app directly into the infotainment system and utilize it without a mobile device.

"When you drive, you can experience safer and more convenient journeys. In this way, you eliminate the use of a smartphone," the company's announcement on the blog reads. 

"With this new experience, Renault drivers will have all of Waze's real-time routing, navigation, and alerts. Then, they will be able to make adjustments, settings, and saved locations, all on the screen of their car."

Renault's current multimedia system supports CarPlay and Android Auto, as well as a number of pre-installed apps such as Google Maps and Spotify. Waze can be downloaded from the Play Store and installed in the vehicle's designated infotainment system, or from Renault's customized application.

Waze is prepared to grow into new vehicle and brand categories. According to the corporation, it "looks forward to offering this wonderful driving experience to more consumers worldwide in 2023."

Post by Bryan C.