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
Senior Editor, PC Build

Rich Edmonds was formerly a Senior Editor of PC hardware at Windows Central, covering everything related to PC components and NAS. He's been involved in technology for more than a decade and knows a thing or two about the magic inside a PC chassis. You can follow him on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.