Official: Google and Waze to live happily ever after as acquisition deal closes

Over the weekend, we heard Google would be acquiring Waze to bolster its mapping and navigation efforts, and it looks like those rumors weren’t far off the mark at all. Google and Waze have just announced the closing of an acquisition deal that will see the former swallowing up the latter. Terms of the deal weren’t made public, of course, but rumor has it the two agreed on a figure of about $1.3 billion.

That’s a lot of moolah, but in today’s world of on-the-go computing, maps and navigation has become one of the most important tools for smartphone owners. Apple saw the same and decided to launch its own mapping suite with Apple Maps. Google has had a lock on the space for quite some time, but is now facing stiff competition from top competitors Microsoft (with Bing) and Apple.

waze

It’s not at all surprising to see Google continuing to use its heavy cash flow to improve the worth of its “local” search services. Major acquisitions of companies like Zagat have shown us that Google considers Maps as one of its most important products. It’s one of the driving forces of its overall Search strategy, which is what brings in the big bucks quarter after quarter.

Waze offers a unique service in that it’s a crowd-sourced database consisting of information from tens of millions of users around the world. Information on traffic hold-ups and accidents, attractions, lodging, food, gas prices and more are all up-to-the-minute with users reporting information each and every day. It’s a really interesting experience and one you should definitely give a try in the Google Play Store if you haven’t already.

History tells us that Google doesn’t make an acquisition without plans to actively integrate that team’s technology into their own products. We might very well see Waze continue on as a standalone app and service, but don’t be surprised to see “Google Maps and Navigation with real-time updates by Waze” on the Google Maps byline in the near future.

[via ChromeSpot]

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  • phoenix_fire

    Lol stiff competition

  • https://plus.google.com/108596272537415356460/posts Jason Farrell

    I always thought Waze was just a way to keep tabs on the GPS location of others… but I guess it’s more than that and I’ll have to check it out at some point (unavoidable if/when merged into google maps)

    • Crazydog

      Waze is crowdsourced maps, traffic and navigation.

    • bitflung

      waze is actually pretty great, but i’ve never used it for keeping tabs on the gps location of someone else (only recently saw that feature – is it new?)

      waze is a GREAT example of crowd-sourcing done right.
      - new roads being built? no problem, you can tell waze about it and define the road by driving on it.
      - temporary traffic issues are both automatically and manually submitted to waze (automatic just submits average speeds in an area, manual pinpoints a place where traffic is bad)
      - it learns your common routes and doesn’t constantly try to send you down the highway you usually avoid (unlike every other nav app i’ve ever tried)
      - speed traps, speed camera, disabled vehicles, road hazards, etc are all integrated and actively reported by a large community of users
      - usage is simple: start the app and start driving. it detects when i’m driving to work and when i’m driving home, automatically starting up the nav process and routing me around traffic (and warning me about accidents, hazards, etc)

      my only gripe is that it is slower than most other apps. the GUI is horribly slow on my single core 1GHz gingerbread device. so is google maps, though. i’m really looking forward to upgrading to a new phone when RW releases new devices around the end of the summer, but till then waze is at least usable (google maps is not even close to reliable on my device)

      • https://plus.google.com/108596272537415356460/posts Jason Farrell

        Ok. My fault – for the longest time I had Waze confused with Glympse (for sharing your location)

        • shonangreg

          I like glympse for meeting friends. I feel much more in control of it than trying to use latitude — too close to using facebook for a “private” conversation. One screw-up and everyone knows where you are.

          Glympse is hard on battery life, though.

      • MikeCiggy

        I just stopped by to say WOW your still running Gingerbread. Come to 2013 and get yourself something new. Even free phones or used off-contract phones can get you on a newer operating system for cheap.

        • bitflung

          @MikeCiggy:disqus: i’m looking forward to it. i’m on Republic Wireless and being a CDMA carrier i can only use the phones they allow. for now, that is ONLY one phone: the moto Defy XT. it’s fairly new (first released august 2012) but is certainly not a techy’s toy :(

          but hey, the carrier is still in public beta so i give them a little slack. the expected phones end of this summer are supposed to be significantly better (at least android 4.x – rumor mill suggests the X-phone is heading our way)

          was hard to argue against $19 all-you-can-eat service though, so i’m running gingerbread in 2013.

      • Richard Braley

        I use it to listen for police alerts while I race on my bike LOL! Watchout, officer reported ahead…*BRAKE!!!!* :D

  • TadeoNYC

    hopefully Google will get them more servers quickly. The servers for rerouting are constantly timing out and it is fairly unsafe to be constantly having to restart the search in highway traffic.

    • MikeCiggy

      If this is the case I’m sure the Waze technical team is very excited about the new funding that will be available from this merger.

    • bitflung

      hrm – i don’t have that problem on my GSM devices, but i do on my CDMA phone. i’ve been blaming it entirely on the fact that CDMA is still just a glorified 2G service and the data connection tends to suck…

      are you on a CDMA carrier by chance? if you’re using sprint towers, that’d be just one more thing in comon with the phone i’ve got which experiences this from time to time (maybe 1 in 10 routing attempts time out on my CDMA phone – and absolutely none of them do on my GSM devices)

      • TadeoNYC

        It happens with Verizon 4g service for huge stretches of time and distances traveling between Westchester and NYC where I travel the same highways constantly and periodically have trips where it won’t connect for the 15 or 20 minute period where I still have options.

        • bitflung

          forgetting for a moment that 4G doesn’t exist yet and that verizon STILL doesn’t even have true 3G (their LTE would be more honestly branded as a really fast 2.9G implementation)…

          it LOOKS like you should have solid LTE coverage in that area according to their maps. but if you EVER fall back on the “3G” network, i wouldn’t be surprised at all. Verizon’s “3G” is equivalent to any GSM carrier’s 2G network and no one would be surprised to hear about lost packets on a 2G network while driving at highways speeds…

          try a carrier that ACTUALLY has 3G service – you’ll likely find that the issue was never with the Waze servers but was instead rooted in carrier’s network itself.

  • Eyad (formerly CTownOL)

    Well, I guess this means no GPS navigation for Windows Phone users. I guess Google feels they should just get lost!

    • bitflung

      huh? Nokia maps is availble for all windows phone users, isn’t it? i’ve got a lumia 800 and can say definitively that the WP version of nokia maps on par with the old symbian version – both versions run circles around google maps (pun intended?).

      if nokia maps were available for android and ran half as well here as it does on symbian/windows i’d switch to that maps app in a heartbeat. by far the best i’ve used.

  • jpchopper

    I’ve been using it on and off for a few years, it’s come a long way since it came out, and it’s also saved me from bad traffic (and… ahem… let me know I should slow down on that next turn….) several times. Definitely worth trying if you haven’t.

  • Lamas Dunn

    No!!! I don’t want all of my eggs in the same basket!

    • shonangreg

      Agreed. I love google, especially for android, VP9/WebM video codec, and maps, but I want to benefit from the convenience of google maps while contributing to open mapping databases like OpenStreetMap: http://www.openstreetmap.org/

      We need competition in this sector, and if the competition is Apple-backed and open source, fine. We will all benefit.

  • Unorthodox

    If history tells us what you’re saying in the last paragraph then where the hell is Meebo?

  • MIKEEEEE

    next on the list should be GASBUDDY.

  • http://www.geekchoice.com/washington-dc Dagmar Schneitz

    I read also that Google is going to allow Waze to be themselves while integrating with Google. That’s the best way for this merger to work.

  • Phil Macrackin

    waze is horrible at nav. google’s nav has more accurate maps. after waze told me to turn on a street that didn’t exist and tries to take me routes that went the opposite direction of my destination I removed it immediately. use a real gps it’s 100% better at it than mobile phone ones. the only cool feature waze has is the traffic and police reporting you can do. other than that it will get you lost real quick.