Google acquires Waze for $1.1bn

The acquisition adds strong social features to Google’s mapping service.

New Statesman
Photograph: Getty Images.

Search engine giant Google has acquired the Israeli mapping services provider Waze, as part of its strategy to cement its leading position in mobile-navigation services.

Google has not divulged  the transaction details, but  Bloomberg reports, citing a person with the knowledge of the matter that it is  approximately $1.1bn.

Established in 2008, Waze’s mobile application gathers information from approximately 50 million road users in order to offer details on traffic congestion and hazardous conditions on roads, and to provide directions.

Recently, Waze started incorporating advertisements to its mapping service, such as those of eateries trying to gain the attention of road users.

With consumers preferring smartphones and tablets over personal computers, Google and social networking site Facebook are making efforts to attract on-the-move consumers.

The acquisition of Waze adds social components to the navigation tool of Google and enables it to maintain its leading position over competitors.

Waze, which also has an office in California, will operate as a separate establishment, while its product development team will operate from Israel. It had raised $67m through funding rounds from investors such as Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and Blue Run Ventures.

Charles Golvin, an analyst at Forrester Research, told the Financial Times: “The more contextual information Google can provide to advertisers, the richer the leads and the more advertisers will be willing to pay.”

Noam Bardin, CEO of Waze, commenting on why the company was sold, in a blogpost said: “Choosing the path of an IPO often shifts attention to bankers, lawyers and the happiness of Wall Street, and we decided we’d rather spend our time with you, the Waze community.”