Google Will Lay Off Some Waze Employees

According to an internal email, the upcoming cuts will impact "sales, marketing, operations and analytics" teams.

Google is moving its navigation software service, Waze, to Google’s ad systems. The consolidation means some job losses for Waze’s 500+ employees, although the exact number being let go has not been clarified.

It’s a hint at a contraction within the world of advertising, which Google dominates alongside Facebook.

It’s also a continuation of the tech layoffs trend: For nearly a year, tech companies have been pointing to the uncertain economy as the reason they needed to lay off swathes of staffers, pushing workers to embrace either self-employment or stagnant wages.

Job Cuts Will Come From Waze Ads Monetization Team

In a statement to The Verge, Waze PR head Caroline Bourdeau clarified the roles impacted by the shift in ad system tech.

“[W]e’ve begun transitioning Waze’s existing advertising system to Google Ads technology. As part of this update, we’ve reduced those roles focused on Waze Ads monetization and are providing employees with mobility resources and severance options in accordance with local requirements.”

According to an internal email, VP and GM of Google’s Geo unit Chris Phillips says the cuts will impact “sales, marketing, operations, and analytics” teams.

Advertising budgets tend to be the first to be revisited when a company is tightening its belt. If the long-predicted recession is leading companies to cut down in ads, Google would feel that pinch more than most, as it dominates the industry. Last year, the company earned a global total of $224.47 billion in ad revenue.

Tech Layoffs Are Continuing Apace

Since late 2022, major tech companies from Twitter and Shopify to Microsoft and Meta have all issued sweeping staff cuts, and some have gone more than just one round.

The trend doesn’t show signs of slowing yet. In June 2023, we saw Spotify announce it would drop 200 employees (adding to 600 job cuts in January), Reddit cut 90 positions, Sonos cut 130 staffers, Uber cut about 200, and telecoms giant Bell laid off around 1,300 employees.

The tech companies themselves often cite “uncertainty” as the reason why they’ve disrupted their employee bases. Amazon CEO Andy Jassy used the exact phrase “uncertain economy” on multiple occasions, while Meta executive Nick Clegg went with “a time of great anxiety and uncertainty.” However, few trends in tech look more certain than the ongoing layoffs.

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One alternative explanation for the number of layoffs? That tech companies are laying off workers because it’s a fast way to boost revenues in the short term, and it’s now possible to do it without stock repercussions, given that other tech companies are already doing layoffs. A recent statement from Mark Zuckerberg could be seen to support this interpretation, as he has praised Elon Musk for making huge cuts at Twitter and kicking off the trend, saying others may have been a “little shy” about making changes.

Whatever the case, the shifting industry norms appear to be coming for Google’s ad department next.

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Adam is a writer at and has worked as a tech writer, blogger and copy editor for more than a decade. He was a Forbes Contributor on the publishing industry, for which he was named a Digital Book World 2018 award finalist. His work has appeared in publications including Popular Mechanics and IDG Connect, and his art history book on 1970s sci-fi, 'Worlds Beyond Time,' is out from Abrams Books in July 2023. In the meantime, he's hunting down the latest news on VPNs, POS systems, and the future of tech.
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