Google announced on Tuesday that it had closed its deal to buy Waze, a social mapping start-up that features real-time traffic data provided by users to help drivers find the fastest route to a destination.
Google did not disclose the purchase price in its blog post announcing the acquisition. But a person with knowledge of the transaction said it was $1.03 billion.
The acquisition highlights the increasing importance of location data in our on-the-go lives, whether it is in finding a place to eat or navigating an unfamiliar road.
Waze has drawn a particularly passionate base of nearly 50 million users around the world. In any given month, about one-third of them turn on the app to access the company’s directions. Waze passively tracks their movements via GPS to generate live information about roads and traffic. And users can add their own information about accidents, police speed traps and road hazards.
Google said Waze would remain separate from its own Maps service. Some of Waze’s real-time traffic data will feed into Google Maps, however, and Google plans to incorporate its powerful search capabilities into Waze.
“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,” Brian McClendon, the Google vice president responsible for its geographic products, said in the post.
Google and Waze declined to make any executives available for an interview.
But in his own blog post, Waze’s chief executive, Noam Bardin, said, “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.”
Mr. Bardin indicated that he and other Waze employees planned to remain with the company. Its product development team will remain in Israel, where Waze has most of its operations.http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com