News by Andrew Kameka on Tuesday June 11, 2013.
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Google has confirmed rumors that it purchased the company behind map and navigation app Waze. Though Google didn't disclose financial terms, previous rumors suggested that Waze would cost more than $1 billion, and competing reports from Bloomberg and Globes put the purchase price at somewhere in the area of $1.1 to $1.3 billion. However much the acquisition cost, Google says that it plans to work with Waze to "outsmart traffic."
Waze is a popular mapping app that relies on it social connections to get live traffic updates from its users. In addition to provide direction and navigation, it shows congested roadways and alternative road options based on information flowing from its 40 million users. The app also provides directions to Facebook events, shows commuting time for common routes, shows friends' locations, and finds cheapest gas stations along a route. It is available for free on Android and Apple iOS, and a beta version is available for Windows Phone.
For the time being, Waze will continue to operate as an independent company in Israel. CEO Noam Bardin says:
Nothing practical will change here at Waze. We will maintain our community, brand, service and organization - the community hierarchy, responsibilities and processes will remain the same. The same Waze people will continue to collaborate with you, and we will continue to innovate our product and services, making them more social, functional and helpful for everyday drivers. Our employees, managers, founders and I are all committed to our vision for many years to come."
Google paints a picture of a two-way street of exchanging mapping tools. Google VP of Geo Brian McClendon says that envisions adding more traffic update features to Google Maps courtesy of Waze, and it plans to enhance Waze with Google Search.source: Waze, via: Google
Andrew is based in Miami, Florida.