Google acquires crowdsourced location services firm Waze
Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) confirmed it is acquiring Israeli crowdsourced location services firm Waze. Waze will operate separately and remain in Israel. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Earlier this week Israeli paper Globes reported the Waze deal was in its final stages and that Google was planning to fork over $1.3 billion for Waze.
"We're excited about the prospect of enhancing Google Maps with some of the traffic update features provided by Waze and enhancing Waze with Google's search capabilities," wrote Brian McClendon, Google vice president of Geo, in a blog post.
"Larry Page, Brian McClendon and the Google Maps teams have been following our progress closely and are excited about what we've accomplished. They share our vision of a global mapping service, updated in real time by local communities, and wish to help us accelerate," noted Waze CEO Noam Bardin.
Waze is a crowdsourced location services app that offers turn-by-turn GPS navigation, traffic reports and social networking features to users on the go. Over 47 million drivers use Waze apps for Android and Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iOS. Apple currently licenses data from Waze for its Apple Maps service. It is unclear how Google's purchase of Waze will affect Waze's partnership with Apple--Apple and Google are headed rivals in the mobile space, and Apple last year replaced Google Maps on its iOS products with its own Apple Maps service.
Rumors of the Google/Waze deal were first reported by Bloomberg last month. At the time, Bloomberg reported that Google was one of many large tech companies, including Facebook (NASDAQ:FB), courting Waze. However, at the end of last month, sources told AllThingsD that Facebook and Waze were no longer in discussions because Facebook wanted to move Waze from Israel to the United States. Facebook previously acquired two Israeli startups, Snaptu and Face.com, and relocated them both to the United States.
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