In a deal reported to cost over a billion dollars, Google announced the acquisition of navigation service Waze, beating out other rumored tech suitors such as Apple and Facebook.
Waze, which builds itself as the fastest-growing, community-based traffic and navigation app, uses crowd-sourcing (tips from drivers) to figure out where traffic jams are to give riders the quickest route to get where they want to go.
Tony Cripps, principal analyst at Ovum said the acquisition is more than just an addition to Google’s portfolio.
“Waze also has the benefit of being somewhat popular in the Apple ecosystem and of having a strong community element to it, something Google still struggles with,” said Cripps.
"Leveraged sensibly this functionality could well strengthen Google’s broader social strategy in terms of Google+, which is gradually gaining momentum through its stealthy implementation.”
The Waze development team will remain independent “for now” and continue to operate out of Israel, Google said in a blog post.
Brian McClendon, Google’s VP of Geo, said the search giant is looking forward to enhancing Google Maps with some of the traffic update features provided by Waze and enhancing Waze with Google’s search capabilities.
“We’ll also work closely with the vibrant Waze community, who are the DNA of this app, to ensure they have what’s needed to grow and prosper,” said McClendon.