Google close to buying Israeli mapping start-up Waze
Google is close to buying Waze for $1.3 billion, an Israeli newspaper reported on Sunday, potentially trumping rival offers for the Israeli mapping start-up.
Waze is a crowd-sourced, mobile-oriented navigation device for drivers that relies on information provided by 47 million members to populate its maps.The report on the website of financial newspaper Globes did not cite any sources or provide further details.
Last month sources told Reuters that the Internet search giant was in talks to acquire Waze, while a second Israeli newspaper reported Facebook was willing to pay up to $1 billion for the firm. As reported earlier, Facebook is delving deeper into mobile technology as it tries to expand its user base. Keeping that in mind, Waze’s mobile application looked like an ideal option for the social networking giant.
Google is close buying Waze for $1.3 billion…
According to a report by AllthingsD, the fall-out occurred partly because there was a conflict over whether the Waze team, which primarily works from Israel, would be moved to the United States and work in Facebook’s Menlo Park headquarters, as well as other reasons. Neither Facebook nor Waze commented on the other reasons why the deal fell through.
Waze seems like a good deal for Google. The start-up uses crowdsourced traffic data, as well as accident reports and police traps gathered from its 40-million-plus userbase to provide drivers with more information while driving. Google, through its Google Maps application offers similar services, but will definitely benefit from the additional user base to gather information. It should be noted that Facebook currently does not offer any kind of maps application.
Mapping services are among the five most-used applications on smartphones and are crucial in engaging and retaining mobile users. The key advantage of owning, rather than licensing, a mapping service is that it allows the product to be personalized for users. Reuters could not reach officials at Waze for immediate comment.[source:teh2]