Google tipped to beat Facebook and Apple with $1.3bn deal for Waze traffic and navigation app
Traffic and navigation app works by connecting drivers to one another
Nikhil Kumar is The Independent's New York correspondent. He was formerly assistant editor on the foreign desk and has also done a variety of jobs on the city desk, where he wrote about markets, commodities and other business and economics topics.
Monday 10 June 2013
Google is said to be nearing a deal worth $1.3bn (£840m) to buy Waze, a traffic and navigation app that harnesses GPS data and feedback from a community of tens of thousands of users to generate driving routes.
Earlier, the search engine company was reported to be among a group of Silicon Valley giants, including Facebook, who were vying for Israel-based Waze.
Now, it is said to putting the finishing touches on a deal to bolster its maps business, which is already a leader in the field. Waze’s capabilities would enhance Goolge’s position in the growing market for location-based services, where users, as they migrate to mobile devices, share data about their exact whereabouts. Buying the business would also help Google block Facebook from challenging it in the navigation and maps business.
Unlike traditional navigation apps, which rely on maps to generate routes for users, Waze works by connecting drivers to one another. According to its website, once a user types in an address and begins driving with the app activated on his or her mobile device, the system passively collects GPS data to see how they are progressing down the route. That allows the system to generate better routes for other users.
In addition to harnessing GPS data, Waze also allows its users to take a more active role in refining the system: they can send in reports of bottlenecks or accidents in order to alert the wider community of Waze users. On its website, the Israeli company says it also “home to an active community of online map editors” who further contribute to keeping its database up to date.
Google yesterday declined to comment on the speculation regarding a possible to buy the business.
Earlier, Waze’s talks with Facebook fell apart when it insisted on keeping its research and development operations in Israel, according to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz. The paper also said that Facebook had offered to pay about $1bn in a cash-and-share deal, in contrast to Google’s offer, which is reported to be entirely in cash. On the research and development front, Google is said to have provided assurances about the Israel-based operations.
Waze’s origins can be traced back to an open-sourced mapping project called Freemap, which was established by Ehud Shabtai, an Israeli software engineer, in 2006. In 2008, Mr Shabtai teamed up with two entrepreneurs, Uri Levine and Amir Shinar, to found Waze. Initially called Linqmap, the business has since won the backing of a number of local and international investors, including China’s Li Ka-shing, whose Horizon Ventures vehicle took part in a financing round in 2011. Another backer is Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, one of Silicon Valley’s most powerful venture capital firms.
Life & Style blogs
Reader dilemma: 'Our son is 34 with an IQ of 85, and spends all his time in his room. What will happen to him when we're no longer here?'
Why it matters 26 million people have changed their Facebook profile picture to a rainbow flag
What supermodels really think about posing in the nude
The age of inactivity: How laziness is killing us
What do the emojis on Snapchat mean?
The moment a Queen's Guard soldier lost it and drew his gun at annoying tourist
Greece crisis: IMF was pushed around by Angela Merkel and Nicholas Sarkozy – and now it is being humiliated
Greece crisis: The wider lesson is that it’s time to abandon this failed experiment in currencies
'I wish the BBC would stop calling it Islamic State' – David Cameron unleashes frustration at broadcaster
Pentagon accuses Russia of 'playing with fire' over nuclear threats towards Nato
They are neither a 'state' nor 'Islamic': Why we shouldn't call them Isis, Isil or IS
- 1 Tunisia hotel attack: Locals form 'human shield' to protect hotel from gunman Seifeddine Rezgui
- 2 Russian officials ban yoga because it's too much like a religious cult
- 3 German ethics council calls for incest between siblings to be legalised by Government
- 4 Ginger Pride festival to take place next summer, organisers say 'time of bullying gingers is over'
- 5 Facebook rainbow profile pictures likely being tracked by social network
iJobs Gadgets & Tech
£26000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An IT Support Technician is req...
£18000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...
£18000 - £23000 per annum + competitive: SThree: As an Associate Recruitment C...
£18000 - £23000 per annum + competitive: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Cons...