Google has confirmed it has closed a deal to purchase the social mapping startup Waze
. The acquisition, for an undisclosed amount that is speculated to be around $1.3 billion
in cash, will allow Waze to enhance Google Maps with traffic updates and route adjustments, using information provided by the startup's 50 million users.
Though most of the terms of the agreement remain unknown, Google vice president of geo Brian McClendon confirmed that the Waze product team will remain in Israel and operate separately for the moment. While Google Maps will be able to use Waze data, Waze itself will be enhanced by "Google's search capabilities." McClendon also pays tribute to the Waze community in the Google blog post
, stating that Google looks forward to "working with them in our ongoing effort to make a comprehensive, accurate and useful map of the world."
The acquisition, which could be investigated by US regulators due to Google's control of the mapping market, also puts to an end Facebook's attempt
at buying the company. While the offer was reportedly just under $1 billion split between cash and stock, the request by Facebook to relocate Waze to the US from Israel was a sticking point in the six months of negotiations, something that Google was able to accommodate.
While Google has claimed Waze will be somewhat independent, it is not clear how this will affect Apple
and its use of Waze data in its own mapping system in the future.