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Google, Waze Confirm Deal, Outline Integration
Posted June 11, 2013
Google, Waze Confirm Deal, Outline Integration
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By Adam Dickter. Updated June 11, 2013 2:44PM

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It's official. Following reports that hands-in-everything technology giant Google had bested Facebook with an eight-figure offer for the popular crowd-source traffic-beating app Waze, the two companies confirmed the deal in separate statements on Tuesday.

"I am excited to announce today that we have accepted an offer to join Google," wrote Waze CEO Noam Bardin on the company's blog.

"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."

Shared Vision

Google confirmed the deal on its official blog, confirming speculation that the app, which has an estimated 50 million users, would be integrated into Google Maps. But Google also said its own features would be added to Waze.

"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," said McClendon, who is vice president in charge of Google's Geo division.

"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."

As part of the agreement, Waze, which allows users to warn each other about speed traps, accidents, traffic jams and other nuisances and hazards, will keep its base of operations in Ranaana, Israel. In his blog post, Bardon said remaining independent while gaining access to Google resources was a key part of the deal.

"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," he said.

"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."

More Integration

By tapping into that network, Google is gaining a pre-existing social network that in size is about 10 percent of the registered users of its latest offering, Google+. An earlier effort, Google Buzz, failed to catch on and was discontinued. For regular commuters, Waze can be far more integrated into their lives than a place for people to simply share photos or article links.

"The social aspect is a core part of how Waze works, and Google definitely sees it as a fit with Google+," Avi Greengart, a consumer devices analyst at Current Analysis, told us. "But Google isn't buying Waze because of its social network, it's buying Waze to improve its mapping data."

Neither side is spilling the beans about the terms of the deal, reported by Bloomberg News and the Israeli business magazine Globes as being around $1.1 billion to $1.3 billion.

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