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.
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.