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Google reportedly strikes deal to purchase Waze for $1.3 billion

waze
Google is reportedly set to purchase crowd-sourced maps provider, Waze, for upwards of $1.3 billion, according to sources. The Israeli-based company may not be well-known in some parts of the world, but its map data, coupled with a tremendously popular social element, has kept 32% of its sign-ups as full-time users.

The app, which is available for iOS and Android, contributes data to the cloud when open, creating real-time updates on congestion, traffic snarls, accidents and best routes. For that the company has earned previous bids from Facebook, which fell through, and Apple was also considering a nibble at some point.

Google’s bid for Waze would most be a defensive move, acquiring the one independent company with sufficient brand recognition to turn away users from Google Maps — not many, but enough. The crowd-sourced technology is also something Google does, but lacks the social element that makes Waze so much fun to use.

According to Globes, who first got wind of the acquisition, Waze will stay independent in the short-term, but could be folded into Google’s Israeli operations down the line. Waze has raised $67 million to date, the latest of which was a $30 round in late 2012.

Source: Globes
Via: AllThingsD

  • gmd

    Oh no! Once an app becomes established, it becomes part of a giant and innovation it brought forward disappears.

  • FuzzyFish6

    I can’t really see this being a good thing for anybody…

  • TomsDisqusted

    One reason I like Google is that they compete hard, and do so by creating tons of new technology – always driving things forward. But this feels anti-competitive to me. It feels like they were just trying to shut down a potential threat to their maps supremacy, and that is very disappointing.

    • Shadi

      You’re exactly right, but at the same time this may have been Waze’s exit strategy all along.

    • Zed

      I agree with what Shadi said. I mean, imagine, if the company was yours, wouldn’t you sell it for 1.3B when the current profit is 67M ?

    • TomsDisqusted

      I’m not blaming the Waze people, but I think this will mean less competition so I think it is a bad thing for consumers. And Google can usually be counted on to create competition, not diminish it.

    • Stuntman06

      I would hope that Google would be able to incorporate the best features of Waze and Google Maps into one better mapping app. There are some things that I like Waze to do better that I see in Google Maps and vice versa. Being able to combine user information from both to provide better traffic information would be a bonus. I can see Google wanting the Waze user data. I would hope that Google doesn’t just buy it for the sole reason to shut it down. If they did, there would be a huge backlash. I think that Google has a pretty good public image. Buying a company just to shut it down would damage that image and I do not believe Google would make a move to do such damage.

    • beyond

      Google doesn’t have to compete. With their dominance in search engine, everyone is herded towards their products anyway.

    • S2556

      Google is still a business. They need to do what is best for the company. We don’t know if google wanted the social element of Waze or if it was purely defensive but either way it is business. I think people forget that they aren’t a non profit sometimes. Buying companies isn’t necessarily anti-competitive. It will probably lead to innovation down the road when the great ideas from Waze and google merge. Also I’m sure the owners of Waze are feeling pretty happy right now. That is a lot of cash!

  • fraughtwith

    Big Fish, may I introduce you to Little Fish. I think you could become great friends, you have a lot in common and … *CHOMP*.

    Oh Big Fish that was not very appropriate, shame on you!

    *BURP*

  • alphs22

    How many of you guys actually used Waze?

    Clunky interface and runs terribly slow compared to Google Maps, not to mention it promotes distracted driving.

    I suspect building a gimmicky social map app and selling it to one of the big boys to cash in was their plan all along.

    • Stuntman06

      I have been using Waze instead of Google Maps for months now. I find Waze provides much more useful traffic information and picks better routes than Waze. When traffic conditions change and a better route is available, Waze alters the route automatically. I don’t find the interface to be slow on my SGS3. It can use some improvements in some areas, but I find it much more useful than Google Maps for navigation.

    • Bem Atsma

      I prefer Waze over Google Navigation…it give me my speed, which Google Navigation does not. And I feel it give me better verbal instructions. I would love to see these improvements folded into Google Nav.

    • Martin Chan

      Navigation, GUI and features(the traffic reports nice) are preferred over Google but it lacks transit support. It’s a little clunky, but barely noticeable on BB because it hasn’t been updated yet.

    • FuzzyFish6

      I use Waze on my Z10, and even being an Android port it’s pretty good. Definitely not clunky nor slow.

  • Martin Chan

    I can see why Google wants this thing, I love it over the Google maps and my first party GPS. But I’ve always been privacy minded and don’t want locations under Google command, especially with the new prism headlines. Plus when most smaller companies take in smaller ones they get absorbed and destroyed or their development slows. If your making good money Waze, please don’t get absorbed.

  • ns.dev

    Hopefully Google will integrate all the Waze features with GMaps. It’d be horrible to see $1.3b rot away.

  • Anshuman

    you forget that the app is on BlackBerry as well and i use it on my Z10 all the time. sadly with Google purchasing it I can expect them to remove BlackBerry support :(

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