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Google buys Waze for $1 billion, looking to improve mapping and tracking services

Google announced this week that it has indeed bought Waze, the social mapping company based in Israel. The unconfirmed price tag is $1bn and both Apple and Facebook have previously been following the startup, monitoring the situation. Waze is essentially a traffic service, which updates in real time by incorporating users' driving times with feedback on accidents and traffic problems.

If you're one to get stuck in traffic jams frequently, Waze is a handy tool that enables you to check out issues on the road ahead and plan accordingly or view more efficient routes other users are taking. We previously looked at the purchase before it went ahead and noted that Apple really had a lot to gain if the technology company went ahead with a check to further distance itself from Google maps. 

So what is Google expected to do with the new acquisition? The search giant will enhance its mapping service with Waze traffic updates, while implementing its search capabilities into Waze. Google VP, Brian McClendon wrote on the official Google blog, announcing the takeover and what plans the company has for the startup. 

"The Waze product development team will remain in Israel and operate separately for now. We’re excited about the prospect of 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."

A Waze Windows Phone app is currently in beta and we expect to see the solution arrive on the store. Though if Google has anything to do with future development, we'll have to seriously consider whether the app will remain up-to-date and available, especially when going by how Google is distancing itself from Microsoft's mobile platform. We'll have to wait and see what happens with the antitrust claims that are being put forward against Google's acquisition.

Source: Google Blogthanks, pbroy, for the tip!

Rich Edmonds is a word conjurer at Windows Central, covering everything related to Windows, gaming, and hardware. He's been involved in technology for more than a decade and knows a thing or two about the magic inside a device chassis. You can follow him over on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.

  • Not gonna use waze when it comes on windows phone
  • wow gee thx for clearing that up I was really wondering if you were gonna use it or not, it was killing me
  • Lol
  • XD amazing lol
  • I'm going to sell my car and walk everywhere. Can't let Google know where I am.
  • Google can still track walking routes... :P
  • Buck Google!
  • Guck Foogle!
  • Cook Egg Flu!
  • @CX1: *Dies laughing at the "Fuck Google" anagram*
  • This is different from Inrix how?
  • Its navigation + social + crowsource all in one vs Inrix is just crowdsource traffic data.(from what I understand)
  • It actually works.
  • Man Google does everything. As time passes buy, I am afraid that every other compitive company, BIG ( sorry Microsoft lovers) or small will be forgotten.
  • This is Game of Thrones (Tech edition)
  • ...and Microsoft is House Baratheon. We've had divison in-fighting, Ballmer = Robert, Windows 8/Metro is basically the Lord of Light religion, and we're still trying to make a comeback. Google = House Lannister. Apple = House Tyrell, Nokia = House Stark Linux = House Greyjoy, literally... "what is dead may never die..."
  • Dafuq ^
  • Do the Starks make a comeback into power in the later books? Because going by the tv show, the Starks are dead in the water at the moment, and Nokia aren't there. ;)
  • You gave this some thought uh.
  • Then they'll be forced to do what IBM had to do.
  • Not necessarily.The world can't live with only one company, and soon it will be obvious.This year is Google's turn, last year was Apple.Who knows what next year will bring :)
  • Can you say ,"Anti-Trust"? They are already under investigation for their anti-competitive practices and this will only provide credance to the investigators just like when the DOJ had MS restricted for 10 years......It won't be long now.
  • Even with anti trust on MSFT, MSFT still got more than 90% of world's computers running its Windows. I have no doubt that in coming years Google will literally RULE THE WORLD. If I try to be OPTIMISTIC, then at the very least I can say that MSFT will remain to computer OS, WP and Bing will be hopefully be as good as Google in 2013 (and I am day talking these things happen somewhere near 2023)
  • Win DroidPhone go home, you're drunk.
  • I am just saying the truth.
  • Give me your car keys
  • Can somebody tell me what products and services did Google acquire by buying them? Edit: Nevermind there is a wiki page for that
  • Besides search, pretty much everything they have that's people want. Youtube, and android.
  • Me either. I want out of the beta
  • I'll take your spot if you do
  • Here comes Google again to ruin the day...
  • Does that mean Windows phone will get scroogled again just like they did with YouTube? Dammit!
  • I have a 27-mile commute to and from work in heavy Dallas traffic. Waze is the ONE thing I miss from my old iPhone. Inrix, Trapster, and Here Maps just doesn't cut it.
  • Microsoft just lost it. Bing search is awful in India and most countries (please don't tell me it is good in your country and US, Google is good everywhere).
    Bing Maps = awful, lacks a lot. It looks like a plain pale white color map with boundaries and no POIs (in my country).
    Bing services are not connected as Google's are.
    My facebook friends used Google Docs for making a shared document. They and many people in India just don't know that Microsoft also offers serach and Office web apps.
    India is a big countries with many internet users, but MSFT does zero work in India.
    Tell me, in that 127 TERA BYTE data, how many MB data was added to India. Google ran a Google Map Maker NATION WIDE competition in India. I saw poster in almost all colleges in my cities and I am sure in many more cities.
    Sorry to say this guys, but I am losing my hopes on Microsoft.
  • All this because google bought waze? A service I never used or heard of until google was interested in buying them.
  • I agree. I am originally from Pakistan and Bing maps are almost non existent there. Google has much more detailed maps and poi data. Adding Waze will make it impossible for Microsoft to compete.
  • Surprised at how lacking MS are in India, I thought they had a big presence there. Nokia has more of a foothold there, aren't their mapping services better in India? And tell your friends to use, it's built into Facebook and runs off Office so is much better than Google Docs.
  • MSFT Bing maps are just plain canvas. Bing. Beta search is just so bad, like alpha, forget about beta. NOKIA HERE Maps in India seriously lack s POIs. Search algorithm is just awful. Look at this thread here I created: I added some photos, you can look, BUS ROUTE GOES OFF THE ROAD AND RIGHT THROUGH A CRICKET STADIUM.
  • Oh no the sky is certainly falling on MS this time!! Sorry guy, but if you really think something this minor is going to suddenly crumble MS then you are on something.
  • The beta program for Windows Phone hasn't seen any action since the Google talks got serious. the download availability for registered, private beta participants keeps getting "postponed". My hopes are low.
  • I was actually excited and eager to help Beta test the WP Waze App. That's no longer the case. While Google has said that Waze will operate as it has (for now), the data mining practices of Google frighten me. While I know my web presence is, well, fairly public knowledge all things considered, no matter how much I try to lock down Facebook or Twitter, the information is just out there. I choose to avoid Google services at all costs. Even YouTube these days frustrates the living daylights out of me every time I have to sit through an advertisement.
    Given how Google likes to 'shut projects down', I almost look for this one to be rolled up in to Google Maps/Nav at some point instead of being its own solution. :-(
  • I wonder if waze bought by G... will there be an ad?
  • Where there's a will there's a waze........*tumbleweed*
  • Haha
  • Spent over 1Bil for Motorola for its patents, and they turned out mostly junk.
    Spent over 1Bil for Waze just to shut off Facebook from mapping business.  Let see how it turns out.
  • And to keep apple from getting it. Google knows (every one knows!) apple is trying to distance themselves from google as much as possible. With them integrating Bing more and more their only real footholds are a search app, web searching and maps. If apple improves thier mapping services google will, or could possible lose out on a a lot of people using their services. Some think Waze would have *helped* push apple closer to that goal.
  • Google can't always win. Intact, their winning days are numbered. Let other rivals do their bits and do it well.
  • I'd rather be gang raped by a gaggle of silver-back gorillas than use any of this Google and Apple crap. Spend away, idiots.
  • LOL!
  • I just happen to have a gaggle of silver-back gorillas.
  • or MS crap ^^. I've seen this already, Google goal is to be like IA movie search( search everything everywere). Will google RULE the wolrd?
  • Funny you say that, my friend was gang raped by silver back gorillas
  • It must be nice to have that much money to blow on garbage!
  • Guess my bid of $8 was to low.
  • Well, we'll have to forget about the idea of seeing a Windows Phone version of Waze then.
  • +One
  • It will be released long before the deal is closed
  • A question that always bothered me. How safe is this app, in other words, won't using the app likely inducing more accidents? 
    There will always be some airhead try to updating traffic info when driving. As if driving & texting/calling aren't bad enough, the app introduce more complicated actions to an already distracted driver. 
  • The interface makes it easy to report issues, so far I haven't heard of waze caused accidents. car integration should solve this (they really should make it voice activated)
  • Facebook was eyeing it but Microsoft actually invested in Waze a while back and owned 10%.
    The service isn't just a live traffic reporting service, it's user generated maps that updated based on traffic. so as roads change the maps can be updated quickly instead of doing an update once a year like most mapping services.
    The social alerts on accidents, traffic jams and police presence are great too, but waze is more than that
  • RIP social navigation, welcome big brother...
    I liked Waze... they had the most up to date maps, and I have helped in my neighborhood.
    Sorry to see Google screwing them.
  • I don't know if it will make much of a difference.  Microsoft owning Skype hasn't made it any better on Windows Phone.