Google drives straight for Waze

It gets the traffic and navigation app maker as Apple takes a different route.

By Benzinga Jun 10, 2013 2:34PM
By Louis Bedigian

It's true -- the best way for a startup to get attention is to have Apple (AAPL) rumored as a buyer.


While the Cupertino, Calif. tech giant does not comment on rumors, Apple was believed to have been interested in buying Instagram before Facebook (FB) snatched it up last year.


Apple was also rumored to be interested in buying Waze, a community-based traffic and navigation app for iOS and Android. Waze gained a degree of mainstream fame last year when its CEO publicly bashed (Benzinga) Apple's ill-fated Maps app. Despite the complaints, Apple was thought to be a huge fan of Waze's technology. The Mac maker was rumored to be discussing a possible acquisition late last year.


Those rumors were dispelled, however, paving the way for a Facebook acquisition. Facebook did not act fast enough, however. Now it seems that Google (GOOG) -- which produces the world's most successful mapping website and mobile application -- wants to acquire Waze.


According to Globes, the search giant will pay $1.3 billion for the company.


Aside from Waze's intellectual property, Google will also acquire a community with more than 40 million users (TechCrunch). The site received its 40 millionth user in February 2013 -- up from 20 million (Waze.com) in July 2012.


On its blog, Waze is currently explaining how it is helping drivers avoid a collapsed bridge in Washington, as well as damage caused by the tornadoes in Oklahoma.


"Just last month, we saw two examples of how Waze's map editing community acted quickly to help drivers get around messy conditions due to a collapsed bridge in Washington State and the Tornadoes which struck in Oklahoma," Waze wrote in a blog post.


Businessman in car with smartphone copyright Image Source, Image Source, Getty ImagesOne Waze user happened to be near the I-5 bridge when it collapsed into the Skagit River. He reported the incident immediately, allowing a Waze map editor to get to work on a solution. Before the day was over, Waze was updated with a new route to avoid the collapsed bridge.


Similarly, when the tornadoes struck Oklahoma, Waze worked hard to provide updated map data.


Google has yet to officially announce that it will acquire Waze, so it is possible that Facebook could still jump in with a better offer. Google has steeper pockets, however, so if a bidding war occurs, expect the Android maker to win.


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