Google Close to Buying Waze for $1.3 Billion

Google reportedly intends to but the Israeli transit and navigation company Waze for $1.3 billion.

The move would become one of the largest Google acquisitions in recent memory. Photo: Pimento Of Doom/Flickr

The ever waging war for crowdsourced navigation app Waze has reportedly been won by the Internet searching giant, which is reportedly ready to pay “more than $1 billion” for the startup, Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz claims, adding that the deal could be worth $1.3 billion.

“Google’s interest in Waze stems principally from its aim of blocking Facebook’s growth,” the publication reads. “The search company operates its own navigation service that competes head on with Waze. It has invested heavily in its system, including the ambitious Google Street View database of images and satellite images.”

And though the acquisation hasn’t been finalized yet, Google agreed not to lay off Waze workers at its development center in Israel. The company is also reported to allow Waze to continue its development in Israel “for at least three years.”

Waze is a good provider of traffic congestion, presence of police, speed-sensing cameras, and other transportation-related information thanks to the crowdsourced information flowing in from its almost 50 million users.

According to sources, cited by the Israeli news agency, the deal will be in all cash. Noam Bardin will reportedly remain as CEO and Waze will also continue as its own brand. Waze’s R&D facility, as well as their offices in Israel, will remain in place for at least three years, Tech Crunch reports.

Back in April numerous reports surfaced claiming that the social networking site, Facebook, was poised to pay $1 billion to buy Waze. However, at the time, the deal fell apart as Waze insisted on locating itself in Israel and Facebook wanted Waze to move to California.

Which is more, Google moved in to have chats with Waze while Facebook was still in talks to buy, showing just how eager Google is to block out potential competitors in the market of maps applications.

Google and Waze were asked to confirm reports on the upcoming deal, but Waze didn’t immediately respond to its request for comment while Google replied, “We don’t comment on rumor or speculation.”

Google’s desire to acquire the Israely service is not absolutely clear. On one hand, the signed deal will definitely increase Google’s footprint in Israel, where the company has two offices.

On the other hand, there is a thriving startup scene, from which the Internet searching giant has already plucked Labpixies and Quicksee.

However, if think of the future, this is also a good way to keep competitors like Apple and Facebook away from such reliable and popular mapping software.

Let’s remember that Google’s Maps application is already a world-class product, with nothing even remotely close following behind in terms of competition.

Nevertheless, in attempt to challenge Google Maps Apple Inc. launched its own mapping app on its iDevices with the launch of iOS 6 and the iPhone 5. Unfortunately for Apple, Apple Maps appeared to be abysmal and the company had to return back to Google Maps.

However, how Forbes concludes, “Waze’s users would be better off if another deal emerged that paid Waze more and promised to keep the service going for the foreseeable future.”

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