Google acquires Waze for over $1 bn

MUMBAI: Google has acquired Israeli technology company Waze for an estimated $1.03 billion.

Waze makes a crowds-sourced traffic app that uses input from drivers. It will complement Google‘s mapping capability. Reports add that the deal is seen by many as a defensive move by Google to keep Waze from being acquired by Apple or Facebook.

Google says that the aim is to help drivers outsmart traffic. Drivers will be able to find the best routes from home to work, every day. The Waze product development team will remain in Israel and operate separately for now. Google Maps will be enhanced with some of the traffic update features provided by Waze. At the same time Waze will be enhanced with Google‘s search capabilities.

Google adds that it will also work closely with the Waze community, who are the DNA of this app, to ensure they have what‘s needed to grow and prosper. Google notes that the Waze community and its dedicated team have created a source of timely road corrections and updates. The effort is to make a comprehensive, accurate and useful map of the world.

Waze founder Noam Bardin said, "Larry Page, Brian McClendon and the Google Maps teams have been following our progress closely and are excited about what we‘ve accomplished. They share our vision of a global mapping service, updated in real time by local communities, and wish to help us accelerate. We are excited about the prospect of working with the Google Maps team to enhance our search capabilities and to join them in their ongoing efforts to build the best map of the world."

"Nothing practical will change here at Waze. We will maintain our community, brand, service and organisation - the community hierarchy, responsibilities and processes will remain the same. The same Waze people will continue to collaborate with you, and we will continue to innovate, our product and services, making them more social, functional and helpful for everyday drivers. Our employees, managers, founders and I are all committed to our vision for many years to come," he added.

He also wrote on his blog on why the company did not go in for an IPO. "Why not stay completely independent? We asked ourselves: "Will Waze still be a fun project to participate in, and a fun place to work, as a stand-alone public company?" He noted that choosing the path of an IPO often shifts attention to bankers, lawyers and the happiness of Wall Street. "We decided we‘d rather spend our time with you, the Waze community. Google is committed to help us achieve our common goal and provide us with the independence and resources we need to succeed. We evaluated many options and believe Google is the best partner for Waze, our map editors, area managers, champs and nearly 50 million ‘Wazers‘ globally."

He adds that Waze will continue to make a real impact on drivers globally, helping them save time and money while making everyone‘s daily commute a bit more efficient and fun.

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