Crowd-sourced map app Waze to accelerate with Google behind the wheel

Purchase price of Israeli-based reportedly $1 b
  • @jjvincent

The bidding wars for Waze have been as high profile as it gets in the tech world, with Google, Facebook and Apple all mooted as potential buyers at one point. But Google have now closed the deal, offering a price of $1 billion (£643m) according to sources familiar with the matter speaking to the Financial Times.

Google announced the purchase on their official blog, promising that the team behind Waze will remain in their native Israel and that they will continue to "operate separately". Facebook's unwillingness to let the Waze developers to remain in the country was reportedly part of the reason for the social network's failure to make a winning bid.

"The Waze community and its dedicated team have created a great source of timely road corrections and updates," said Brian McClendon, Google Vice President, promising that the crowd-sourcing mechanic behind Waze would add to to Google's mission "to make a comprehensive, accurate and useful map of the world."

Users of Waze add to the map's functionality by volunteering information about traffic, gas prices, and even points of interest - turning each user on the road into a sensor that adds to the product's appeal.

As Waze expands its user base, the maps it offers will become even more informative. Combining this with the easy dominance of Google Maps in the market makes for a potent model for growth in terms of both users, and usefulness.

Noam Bardin, CEO of Waze described the company as "excited about the prospect of working with the Google Maps team to enhance our search capabilities", stressing that the app makers will "maintain [their] community, brand, service and organization."

"We evaluated many options and believe Google is the best partner for Waze, our map editors, area managers, champs and nearly 50 million Wazers globally," said Bardin.