On the heels of an official Windows Phone release of the popular traffic service Waze, a report from the well-established Israeli paper the Globe states that Google will pick up the company for $1.3 billion USD.

Google, Facebook and even Apple were all rumored to be interested in buying the Israeli-based company, with Apple gaining the most from the purchase as they could continue to distance themselves from Google and their Maps. Evidently, due to the high price though, Apple never submitted an official offer.

Facebook though was serious about a purchase but because they could not guarantee that Waze development would stay in Israel, Waze was less interested. Meanwhile, Google had previously bought two other Israeli companies--Labpixies acquired for $25 million and Quix for 8-10 million—back in 2010. Both companies have retained operations in Israel.

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With the admittedly massive purchase, Google is expected to strengthen its grip on mapping and traffic data, expanding their focus on social-interaction in data-mining. For those who aren’t familiar, Waze is a method by which users on their smartphones can both view traffic and report on incidents for live, local and up-to-date information relating to diving conditions.

The current Windows Phone beta for Waze, which is in private testing, is expected to continue development and release in the coming weeks. Though if Waze becomes a Google property, it remains to be seen if development will continue (Google feels that the smaller market reach for Windows Phone is not incentive for investment in their services).

Interestingly, Microsoft was reportedly an early investor in Waze back in 2009, helping the fledgling start-up with building capital. Microsoft (or Nokia and their HERE services) were not part of the latest round of negotiations, which means either they did not see the value in the company, had alternatives or were simply caught off guard.

Who do you think would have benefitted most from a Waze purchase? Google, Microsoft-Nokia or Apple? Will this change your stance on using the service when it comes out? Let us know in comments.

Source: Globe; Thanks, Ori, for the tip!