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.