The rumors were true. Google has acquired Waze.
Google announced on Tuesday 11-Jun-2013 that it had acquired Israeli crowd-sourced GPS app provider Waze in what is rumored to be a $1.0B buy-out. Rumors of an acquisition of Waze have been circulating since the beginning of 2013 with suitors including both Apple and Facebook, as well as Google rumored to be in the running.
Waze has over 40 million users as of April 2013 and is a free, cross platform application that uses crowd-sourced data to provide information on traffic, accidents, speed traps as well as validation of maps for voice-guided GPS directions.
Waze’s acquisition will strengthen Google Maps as well as provide additional ad-based revenue. Both Apple and Facebook were interested in the app in order to strengthen and provide a mapping solution for their users, respectively. Apparently, the future location of the acquired resources – currently Israel – was a point of contention in the failed negotiations. With its acquisition, development staff currently in Israel can stay there, at least for now.
Personally, while this is likely to strengthen Google Maps, its already a strong, mature product. While the rumors around an Apple acquisition of Waze turned out to be inaccurate, that result really is somewhat disappointing. Apple Maps could use some help or at least could use a marketing shot in the arm that an acquisition like this could have given it.
In the end, this is probably the best result that could have happened for Waze. An acquisition by Apple would have totally cannibalized the app, leaving little to nothing of its original form left. An acquisition by Facebook would have done absolutely nothing but ruined the app, service and community that Waze has worked so hard to build.
File this under “watch for further developments,” kids. I really think some interesting things are going to happen with Google Maps as a result; but as always, only time will tell…