We gathered that changes would be happening internally at Google ever since CEO Sundar Pichai uttered the phrase “Don’t equate fun with money” as a response when fielding questions from concerned employees regarding the cost-saving measures that the company was taking. Some of these measures included tightening travel and other budgets, but more importantly, potential layoffs.
It seems like the company has had to resort to shortening or even doing away with entire teams, such as was the case with the Stadia team. More recently though, it was reported by the Wall Street Journal that Google will be merging the Waze and Google Maps teams, while still keeping the two apps separate. However, no changes to the end-user experience were revealed as part of this internal shift.
The tech giant plans to combine the efforts of its more than 500 Waze employees with those of Geo, the division of Google that is responsible for Maps, Google Earth, and Street View. Waze CEO Neha Parikh will step down after a transition phase, according to a Google spokesperson who talked to the WSJ. However, there are no plans to lay off any employees, which is good news.
This move comes on the heels of the company reporting a drastic decline in its third-quarter sales and previously dismantling its Area 120 startup incubator. Additionally, Google implemented a two-week hiring pause in July and said it would slow its hiring pace for the remainder of the year. However, Google isn’t the only tech company that is currently taking drastic measures to cut costs. Meta, for example, announced last month that it was cutting jobs due to a slump in its eCommerce revenue.
As long as Google doesn’t actually get rid of the Waze app, I think that reorganizing its team to all report to a single organization makes sense, especially if this means that laying off employees is off the table. Regardless, we should be ready for more changes ahead as things improve and stabilize, because we all know Google isn’t shy about removing a product from its ecosystem when it no longer makes business sense. I just hope that Waze survives this wave.