The Wall Street Journal recently broke the news that Google Maps and Waze are merging. The move forms part of cost-cutting measures initiated recently by Google’s CEO, Sundar Pichai. Among others, Pichai’s cost-cutting has shut down Project Loon, Google Stadia, the Google Pixel laptop division, and half of Area 120.
Now, to be clear, the statement that Google’s PR team issued to the Wall Street Journal doesn’t spell out the demise of Waze. In fact, Google took an optimistic position and stated that it ‘remains deeply committed to Waze’s unique brand, its beloved app, and its thriving community of volunteers and users.’ The company also stated furthermore that ‘Google said it planned to maintain Waze as a stand-alone service.’
However, we saw the same kind of abject optimism about the future of Google Stadia, which, as it turned out, was far from secure as the entity is now dead. Google kept circulating news that Google Stadia would not be discontinued. However, two months later, Google Stadia was gone.
We need to keep in mind that this sort of acquire and integrate approach is something that Google often engages in. Google has a healthy track record of buying out competing software and integrating it into its own alternatives. Even though, for the moment, Waze is simply joining Google’s Geo Dvision along with Google Maps, it’s very likely that the two entities will be merged in the near future.
Waze has long been a superior navigational tool as it not only shows more efficient routes than Google Maps, but also encourages users to engage with one another by reporting incidents on the road. Even after pushing traffic reports to Google Maps, the company has not managed to make the same impact that Waze has.
It makes only logical sense for strong elements of Waze to be ported to Google Maps, and for the Waze name to eventually die. In other Google news, is the Google car on the way?