On Tuesday, the vice president Brian McClendon announced through Google’s official blog, that the company bought Waze, a popular cross-platform, crowd-sourced traffic and navigation service, in order to integrate it with its Maps service, bringing in the active Waze community, which contributes data about traffic and accidents to inform other users.
According to the vice president’s declaration, for the moment, the Waze development team will remain in Israel and operate separately.
Financial details of the deal were not made public. However, according to reports that appeared earlier this week, Google agreed to pay between $1.1 billion and $1.3 billion US for the app.
Waze is a free application available on the iOS App Store, which not only that offers voice navigation, learns from your frequently traveled routes, and can find the cheapest gas station, but it also has a social function, the user’s friends being able to join Waze, and be seen as all attend a concert or arrive for a dinner reservation.
In April, Waze had more than 40 million people actively using its service and contributing data. The company is well-known also for the important investors such as Microsoft and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.
Google’s investment comes at the same time with the mobile battle for mapping increasing between it, Apple, and other major players, like Facebook. This is the reason why there have been some speculations regarding Google’s purchase suggesting that the company’s acquisition was made in order to elbow out Apple and Facebook.
However, it seems that Google needed Waze just to make its own service even better by providing crowdsourcing information on potential slowdowns. In addition, with Waze Google will receive better information regarding where people are located at any given time so that Google can better serve up ads and other revenue-generating location services.
Early this year, there have also been rumors regarding the fact that Apple was interested in buying Waze. However, those turned out to be untrue. Apple’s iOS platform relied on Google for mapping data until the company launched iOS 6 last year, when Apple released its own Maps application.
After the launch of iOS 6, when Apple promoted alternative mapping applications because problems of its own Maps, the company highlighted the Waze iOS App.