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Todd Haselton | CNBC
Google is cutting jobs at its Waze mapping service as it merges the unit with its own mapping products.
In an email to employees Tuesday, Chris Phillips, who oversees Google’s mapping division called Geo, said the company is changing its Waze strategy to include Google ads instead of using a separate ad system. That move will result in layoffs, according to the email, which was seen by CNBC.
“We have decided to transition Waze’s ad monetization to be managed by the Global Business Organization (GBO), similar to Google Maps,” Phillips wrote. “Unfortunately, this will result in a reduction in roles focused on Waze Ads monetization in sales, marketing, operations and analytics.”
The company hopes to “create a more scalable and streamlined Waze Ads product,” Phillips wrote, adding that it will “reduce the current Waze Ads product while we focus on creating new Waze Ads with Google Ads.”
Phillips said the company would notify advertisers and partners of the change on Wednesday, telling employees his team will answer questions and share their plans for next steps at “our next Waze Town Hall” on July 11.
The email did not say how many jobs would be removed, and Google did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The Waze unit has more than 500 employees, according to internal documentation seen by CNBC. Google acquired Waze for about $1.3 billion in 2013.
After a year of sharply 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 has also scrapped some projects, reduced the size of others and said it is focusing on becoming more efficient.
Since December, Google has been consolidating Waze with its own Geo unit, which monitors the maps. As part of the reorganization, 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 place to another, using the latest traffic information. Waze has approximately 140 million active users.
“Decisions like these are incredibly difficult,” Phillips wrote. “Each of these Wazers 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 confirmed the layoffs and other details from Phillips’ email in a statement, saying the company “remains deeply committed to growing Waze’s unique brand, its beloved app, and its thriving community of volunteers and users.”
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