Google officially buys social mapping startup Waze

By , Jun 11, 2013

waze

It’s official: Google has just bought Waze, a social mapping and location startup, for an undisclosed sum. The acquisition strengthens Google’s already leading Maps solution and related location services on the web and mobile devices. The deal follows months of speculation, with stories earlier this year predicting Apple would acquire the Israeli startup in order to improve own data in iOS Maps…

The Internet giant broke the news on its official blog:

To help you outsmart traffic, today we’re excited to announce we’ve closed the acquisition of Waze. This fast-growing community of traffic-obsessed drivers is working together to find the best routes from home to work, every day.

Waze taps crowdsourced data to deliver real-time traffic updates from “friends and fellow travelers ahead of you” so you could check out faster routes that others are taking, Google notes.

The Waze blog post acknowledges that Google CEO Larry Page along with Brian McClendon and the Google Maps teams “have been following our progress closely and are excited about what we’ve accomplished”.

Noting that “nothing practical will change” at the company, Waze said it evaluated many options.

“We believe Google is the best partner for Waze, our map editors, area managers, champs and nearly 50 million Wazers globally,” the firm wrote.

“Google is out there creating a standard of quality,” Waze CEO Noam Bardin said at AllThingsD’s Dive Into Mobile in April.

Speaking of the Apple-Google rivalry in the mapping space, he opined:

Apple Maps are definitely getting better, but the challenge Apple has is that it’s hostage to its vendors – and those vendors are weak these days. TomTom is challenged, whereas Google has an unlimited war chest to better its apps.

He also said “Apple really needs to learn to partner,” citing tight Facebook and Twitter integration is making the overall iOS user experience “better for both the partner and for Apple.”

Apple surely can’t be too happy with one of its key data providers having fallen into the hands of its arch rival. Then again, Apple was rumored to be interested in buying Waze so the company should only blame itself for letting Google (again) beat it in the acquisition game.

As you know, Tim Cook named Waze as one of App Store map makers in his apology letter over the iOS 6 Maps debacle.

The bigger question is whether Google will leverage the Waze acquisition to stop supplying location and mapping data to Apple Maps? I’m also wondering what now happens to Waze’s free social GPS application on the App Store.

At any rate, this deal is a double-blow to Apple. Not only will Waze help Googe enhance Google Maps, it could also leave Appl without a valuable source of data for its own Maps.

Thoughts?

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  • Kaptivator

    Love Waze…Hopefully they don’t make many changes to it. If so, I’ll have to delete it.

    • Sputnik09

      hear… hear…

    • Gorgonphone

      I use goole maps and tom-tom best navigation combination i can find

  • Micaiah Martin

    Well….R.I.P Waze :(

    • Albert

      why RIP Waze? You think google will really destroy the app?

      • ✪ aidan harris ✪

        They’ve destroyed Sparrow…

      • TesticularFortitude

        This!!!!!

      • Albert

        well, at least its not facebook buying it… :]

  • TesticularFortitude

    Could not care less.

    • Michael Jack

      Why comment then? Discussion on IDB is always great, if you’ve nothing constructive to say give your keyboard a break.

      • TesticularFortitude

        Was my comment destructive? You only want to hear from those jumping with joy?

        Not gonna happen.

    • Pico Black

      As a confessed shareholder of AAPL, you should care.. and a great deal about the acquisitions that apple, and competitors make.

  • Boss

    All these big companies FB, Yahoo, Apple , Google throwing a billion dollars away like it’s nothing

    • Craig Keller

      Apple doesnt spend any of their money. No matter how irrelevant they become. Its a very sad time right now. Apple needs to learn how to partner, but also to acquire the RIGHT companies to help them compete. They arent experts at everything (especially services), they need to learn how to get help in their weak areas (maps being a big one). They dropped the ball BIG TIME by letting Waze go to Google. :(

      • TesticularFortitude

        Really? That’s funny. Cook just said they’ve recently made 9 acquisitions.

      • Craig Keller

        Apple acquires small startups which may or may not actually be good at what they do. They take small financial gambles and acquire small companies which may or may not have potential. Google, Yahoo, and Facebook buy big companies with proven track records, an installed base, and spend big money to improve their services. There is less of a risk, the products they buy are more polished, and their products improve as a result. Apple does not do these things.

      • TesticularFortitude

        Let’s see here:

        Lala music streaming – Winner

        Chomp – Winner

        Anobit – Winner (awesome gamble)

        P.A. Semi – Winner

        Just to name a few. Not too bad for the most valuable tech company in the world.

      • Craig Keller

        Chomp was a terribad decision. But im not going to engage in an argument with you. Apple is losing to Google in almost every facet of the game, you’re just someone who hasn’t realized it yet.
        I am an AAPL stakeholder, and I have their logo tattooed on my arm, fortunately neither of those facts have made me naive.

      • TesticularFortitude

        I’m a shareholder too, and have been since 1993. And Apple is losing to no one… No matter how many supposed “stakeholders” or analysts repeat it.

        Humor me. Where are these loses? Profits? Consumer satisfaction(very important metric)? Cash on hand? Tablets? User analytics? Phones? Mp3 players? Notebooks?

        Oh, I know… innovation. lol

      • Craig Keller

        You win. im obviously wrong. how could i have been so blind! Thank you for enlightening me to the fact that apple can never do wrong and will never not be the best!

      • mav3rick

        They just cannot do this. They’re sitting on a pile of cash with no real perspective. Money goes real fast if you don’t know how to use them.
        They are getting rid of everybody: the best displays- Samsung, the best Maps- Google and now having Waze this is basically unbeatable, started to remove the best search engine- Google. Their big innovation Siri from 2 years ago, which was a goverment gift, still in beta is lagging behind Google Now. Foxconn is also starting to diversify their too big exposure to AAPL products. They’re just cornering themselves thinking they’re almighty. But after this black-and-whiteOS, which it’s said having a vision because is pure plain basic 60% white with sketched buttons and childish icons, crumbles will start to fall.

  • Zeus

    This is a great buy!

  • f5faith

    NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!! = (

  • Gorgonphone

    So here isa the deal.. if apple does not find a anew Steve in 2 years google will beat them… google is slowly but surely building a powerful empire.. apples IOS empire is end of life cycle,,

    • TesticularFortitude

      Google already has a powerful empire. Apple announced they have paid $10 Billion to developers… That certainly doesn’t sound like a dying business.

  • makedonii

    thank god microsoft didnt buy Waze, that would have been a disaster, just like the slowly start to distroy Skype :/

    on topic: i think Apple will drop Maps in the near future, Google maps and Waze are actualy too much to handle

  • Sgs2&iphone5

    Again Israeli program ?
    Israel is the startup nation

  • bw00ds

    Actually, I at first was reticent that Google bought one of my most used and favorite apps. But then finding incorrect information fed to Waze by Bing (business was not closed as reported but still in business) I hope they will get rid of Bing as a search and replace it with their own. I’m assuming that’s what they’ll do, right?