Tech

Google wants to buy Waze for $1.3 billion, but why?

By Michael Mayday , Jun 11, 2013 08:23 AM EDT

Google is in talks to purchase Waze, the much sought-after crowdsourced traffic and navigation application sought by many Internet giants, for over $1 billion.

The purchase, if finalized, could boost Google's already robust map offerings, and cut off an intelligent purchase for both Facebook and Apple - map applications have become immensely popular among general users, and neither Facebook nor Apple have map applications users find suitable.

The deal, Reuters reports, is in its final stages and will supposedly be formally announced some time this week. The Israeli-based Waze is reportedly going to remain a largely independent service, though parts of the service may be integrated with Google later on.

Facebook had reportedly been in serious discussions with Waze about a possible acquisition, but the small company, based out of Israel, reportedly couldn't consent to moving its headquarters from Israel to California - a requirement which Facebook was apparently adamant about.

But Facebook's loss is Google's gain. With the addition of Waze to Google's ranks, the search giant gains a notable application which is built from the ground-up for both social sharing and mobile devices. Integrating such technologies and techniques could be useful for Google services.

One use Google may have for Waze, PC Mag notes, is to create a more robust and personal Google Maps. Google has already steered in an intimate direction after revealing its new version of Google Maps at this year's annual Google I/O conference.

Waze is also a good strategic buy for Google. By claiming the service for itself, Google makes it all the more difficult for Facebook or Apple to build-out their own mapping service. Finally, the purchase could also eliminate a potential competitor to Google Maps, the current dominating mapping service on both mobile and the web.

Waze, founded in 2007, allows users to communicate nearby traffic conditions to one another, giving tips and information on speed traps, traffic jams, car accidents and other travel situations. The application tracks a user's location through GPS. The service, which also allows users to map out uncharted roads and trails, is rapidly growing in popularity, touting a user base of 47 million users.

Waze is free and currently available in both the iOS and Google Play stores.

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