It seems Waze has finally found a suitor. The company, which has previously been rumored to be in discussions with both Apple and Facebook, has announced that it had been acquired by Google. The two companies shared the news via their respective blogs, with Google highlighting the acquisition as a way to fight traffic.
Google describes Waze as "a fast-growing community of traffic-obsessed drivers." Indeed, with close to 50 million users, the Waze community isn't short on users. The service uses satellite signals from users' smartphones to generate maps and traffic data, offering community-edited maps, traffic jams, road hazards, accidents and even speed traps – all supplied by other drivers in real time. The free service also helps users find the cheapest, closest gas stations near their current location whether it's at home or out-of-town. Now all of that real-time data goodness belongs to Google.
According to Google, the Waze team will remain in Israel and operate separately for the time being. Google didn't really offer any other details on what the acquisition will mean for Google Maps. Last we heard, Waze would remain a standalone application but the app's most valuable data could be integrated with Google Maps.
Google also kept quiet about how much it paid for Waze, though rumors earlier this week indicated that the company was offering over a billion dollars. We'll keep you posted on that one.