Google on Tuesday confirmed that it's acquiring Waze, an Israeli mobile satellite navigation startup that provides crowd-sourced navigation app for smartphones, in a deal valued at more than $1 billion.
However, Google did not officially reveal the price of the bid, Reuters and other news agencies reported that anonymous sources revealed that it was more than $1 billion. This purchase would make it the fourth-largest purchase in Google's 15 year history.
Waze, which provides assistance when it comes to finding the fastest and the easiest routes, was also the target for Facebook and Apple. The deal between Waze and Facebook was deemed as an imminent one, but Waze backed out as Facebook wanted to move operations to Silicon Valley.
The acquisition would allow Google to gain leverage on it's online mapping and navigation products, which are gaining importance as more Internet users are switching onto mobile devices to gather information and assistance. Analysts claim that Waze also has "social networking capabilities" that Google may build into other products.
"Google's clearly the leader in terms of mapping and navigation services, but what they don't have is the eyes-on-the-street, feet-on-the-ground immediacy that Waze provides," said Forrester mobile technology analyst Charles Golvin.
Waze has over 50 million users around the world who use the app for turn by turn driving directions. Real time reports on traffic data such as jams and road conditions can also be shared.
In a statement, Google Vice President Brian McClendon added,"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."