Reported deal will give Google a boost in mobile mapping; R&D center to remain in Israel.
Israeli media are already celebrating Google’s imminent buyout of Waze – the red hot Israeli crowd-sourced navigation application – for a whopping $1.3 billion. The reported acquisition will give Google an advantage in the growing mobile mapping market. According to local and international reports, the search giant’s interest in this Israeli company is actually a defensive move. Though a leader in online mapping, Google’s real-time traffic information is considered its weakness. With rumors and reports of imminent buyouts by the likes of Apple and Facebook in the past few months, insiders are now saying Google’s acquisition of Waze will give it exclusive mapping expertise while also spiting its main competition. The Apple deal reportedly fell short because of the price tag while Facebook’s attempt to acquire the Israeli mobile navigation application stalled after the social media giant refused to keep the R&D center in Israel, reports Calcalist. Waze was founded in 2007 and is based in Ra’anana and Palo Alto. The company says it has 50 million users in 110 countries using its technology. In Israel, nine out of 10 registered drivers have used the service, according to the company. Waze’s maps are created by its users via GPS tracking. The service enables users to “outsmart traffic and get everyone the best route to work and back, every day,” the company says. Assuming the deal does not face antitrust problems (Google has a strong presence in online maps already), it would seem the Israeli company with just 107 employees has navigated itself to an historical high-tech buyout.