Google – not Facebook or Apple – will be the new owner of Israeli mapping app Waze.
But today comes the news that Waze, the Israeli map app company, will be actually be snapped up by Google, in a deal that Bloomberg BusinessWeek says is worth a whopping $1.1 billion. In a post on the Google blog, mapping exec Brian McClendon confirmed the acquisition and said that Waze would be used to help increase the quality and depth of Google Maps.
"The Waze product development team will remain in Israel and operate separately for now," Mr. McClendon wrote. "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."
So hey, what does Google want with Waze? And what is Waze, anyway? We'll answer the second question first: Waze is a mapping application powered both by GPS and by crowd-input. Other users can warn of particularly brutal traffic jams, or suggest better routes, or take note of a closed gas station, and that information will pop up on your screen for other users.