Google’s Waze laying off more than 5% of workforce: report

  • Google-owned Waze is laying off more than 5% of its total workforce as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, The Verge reported Wednesday.
  • Waze CEO Noam Bardin told employees in a memo that the company is refocusing on “product improvements,” “technical infrastructure,” and sales and marketing in “a small number of high-value countries,” according to The Verge.
  • The company will also shutter offices in Asia and Latin America, The Verge reported.
  • Waze, like other navigation and rideshare companies, has seen a dramatic drop in users during the coronavirus pandemic as people stay home and avoid unnecessarily sharing public spaces. 
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Waze, the Google-owned navigation app and carpool service, is laying off 30 employees — more than 5% of its total 555 person workforce — and shutting some offices as it reels from the coronavirus, The Verge reported Wednesday.

In a memo to employees, CEO Noam Bardin said that travel restrictions in place around the world had led to a “significant drop” in the number of miles people are driving while using the app, trips taken via its carpool service, and ad revenue, according to The Verge.

“This has forced us to rethink priorities, and we’ve decided to focus our resources on product improvements for our users, accelerate our investments in technical infrastructure, and refocus our sales and marketing efforts on a small number of high-value countries,” Bardin said, according to The Verge.

Waze did not immediately respond to a request for comment on this story. 

Bardin reportedly told employees that jobs would be cut across Waze’s ad sales, partnerships, and marketing teams, and that the company would be closing sales offices in Singapore, Indonesia, the Philippines, Malaysia, Colombia, Argentina, and Chile.

Employees being let go will be “taken care of [financially] through early 2021 and will be eligible for year-end bonuses,” as well as continue to receive “as many continued [healthcare] benefits as possible” and assistance finding jobs either at Google or elsewhere, Bardin said, according to The Verge.

Waze, which Google purchased in 2013 for $1.2 billion, has been struggling amid the pandemic, saying in an April blog post that miles driven were down 60% globally.

The company is far from alone. Other mobility and rideshare services, such as Uber and Lyft have been forced to lay off substantial numbers of employees as remote work policies and shelter-in-place requirements have slowed the number of trips people are taking.

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