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
Astrological signs are almost all wrong, as movement of moon and sun throws out zodiac
PTSD photo series documents what the disorder is really like – as study reveals suicides of 22 US veterans every day
The distress of some Zayn Malik fans is real, and they need support, say experts
NHS property sale could raise £7.5bn to help pay off its growing deficit and free up space for housing
Clocks change: how to make sure iPhone and smartphones automatically ‘spring forward’
Ukip supporters are 55 or older, white and socially conservative, finds British Social Attitudes Report
JK Rowling responds to fan tweeting she 'can't see' Dumbledore being gay
Jeremy Clarkson sacked live: Alan Yentob 'wouldn't rule out' ex Top Gear host's BBC return
Revealed: Putin's army of pro-Kremlin bloggers
The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
David Cameron calls Labour 'hopeless, sneering socialists' while announcing 7-day NHS plans
- 1 Finland schools: Subjects scrapped and replaced with 'topics' as country reforms its education system
- 2 The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
- 3 Watch: Man takes selfie every mile of 2,600 mile hike, creates amazing timelapse video
- 4 The day I starred in Only Fools and Horses
- 5 Scientists have discovered a simple way to cook rice that dramatically cuts the calories
iJobs Gadgets & Tech
£6 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join a gro...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Service Delivery Manager is required to join...
£30000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Our client is looking to find a...
£21000 - £23600 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity to join...