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Todd Haselton | CNBC
Google cuts jobs at its Waze mapping service by merging the unit with its own mapping products.
In an email to employees on Tuesday, Chris Phillips, who oversees Google’s maps division called Geo, said the company is changing its Waze strategy to include Google ads rather than using a separate ad system. The move will result in layoffs, according to the email, which was viewed by CNBC.
“We have decided to move ad monetization from Waze to be handled by the Global Business Organization (GBO), similar to Google Maps,” Phillips wrote. “Unfortunately, this will lead to a reduction in Waze Ads monetization-focused roles in sales, marketing, operations, and analytics.”
The company hopes to “create a more scalable and optimized Waze Ads product,” Phillips wrote, adding that it “will scale down the current Waze Ads product while we focus on building new Google Ads-powered Waze ads.”
Phillips said the company will notify advertisers and partners of the change on Wednesday, and told employees his team will answer questions and share plans for next steps at “our next Waze town hall” on July 11.
The email did not state how many jobs would be cut, and Google did not immediately respond to request for comment. The Waze unit has more than 500 employees, according to internal documentation seen by CNBC. Google acquired Waze for around $1.3 billion in 2013.
After a year of dramatically slowing revenue growth, Google’s parent company, Alphabet, announced in January that it was laying off 12,000 employees, or 6% of its workforce. The company also eliminated some projects, scaled back others and said it was focused on improving efficiency.
Since December, Google is consolidate Waze with its own Geo unit, which oversees maps. As part of the reshuffle, the company announced that then-CEO Neha Parikh would step down.
The Waze app uses a crowdsourcing technique that allows it to determine the fastest driving route from one location to another with the latest traffic information. Waze has around 140 million active users.
“Decisions like these are incredibly difficult,” Phillips wrote. “Each of these Wazers has contributed to the success and culture of Waze, and I want to express my gratitude and respect for what they have accomplished.”
A Google spokesperson did not immediately provide comment.
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