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Google to Buy Waze for Over a Billion Dollars?

By - Source: Wall Street Journal | B 14 comments

Rumor has it Google is looking to spend big on mapping.

Last we heard, Facebook was thinking of buying GPS service Waze. Back in early may, word got out that the social networking giant was in talks to acquire Israeli start-up Waze Mobile for $800 million to $1 billion. Before that, Apple was rumored to be considering Waze for acquisition. In December of 2012, word on the street was that Apple could acquire Waze but these rumors were later branded completely fabricated. Now, it seems it's Google's turn for some Waze-related chatter.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Google is in talks to purchase Waze for over a billion dollars. The Journal cites a person familiar with the negotiations that says Google is looking to acquire Waze to boost its already strong position in the mapping market. Developed by Waze Mobile, the highly-popular Waze social GPS app features turn-by-turn navigation and is available on Android, iPhone, Symbian, Windows Mobile and BlackBerry. It recently won the Best Overall Mobile App award at Mobile World Congress 2013, is completely free and boasts nearly 50 million users. Waze 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.

The Wall Street Journal says the Google acquisition deal could be announced as early as this week and that Waze would remain a standalone application. WSJ sources say the app's most valuable data could be integrated with Google Maps. No word from Google or Waze on the accuracy of the report but we'll keep you posted on any news of the deal.

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  • 0 Hide
    DjEaZy , June 10, 2013 7:37 AM
    ... Google to Buy Waze for Over a Billion Dollars? NNNOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!
  • 3 Hide
    Devoteicon , June 10, 2013 7:50 AM
    What the hell is Waze?
  • 0 Hide
    ddpruitt , June 10, 2013 8:07 AM
    Waze isn't worth $.02.

    The location information is inaccurate (off by several miles in some cases), exiting a freeway makes a traffic jam, it promotes users that give inaccurate information ....

    I stopped using Waze after 2 weeks because a blank map is more useful.
  • -1 Hide
    jaber2 , June 10, 2013 8:41 AM
    WTF?
  • 1 Hide
    FunSurfer , June 10, 2013 8:55 AM
    Quote:
    Waze isn't worth $.02.

    The location information is inaccurate (off by several miles in some cases), exiting a freeway makes a traffic jam, it promotes users that give inaccurate information ....

    I stopped using Waze after 2 weeks because a blank map is more useful.


    Waze probably needs more users to become more accurate... Best case scenario is all the cars on a certain road have smartphones that are using the application, which is definitely not the case now...

  • 0 Hide
    fulle , June 10, 2013 9:23 AM
    This is frustrating news for me, since Waze is my backup navigation app for when Google navigation is having issues.
  • 2 Hide
    yorich , June 10, 2013 9:32 AM
    Quote:
    Waze isn't worth $.02.

    The location information is inaccurate (off by several miles in some cases), exiting a freeway makes a traffic jam, it promotes users that give inaccurate information ....

    I stopped using Waze after 2 weeks because a blank map is more useful.


    You must live out in the boonies. Here in the bay area, CA, Waze has been the most accurate (with a few exceptions) mapping application yet. I used to use google, but found that it's ETA, as well as traffic information was off. Waze on the other hand, has been I'd say 95% accurate. Speed trap? I've been correctly notified 85+% of the time (few times cop wasn't there, but better safe than sorry). Traffic? I hit the slow down exactly where Waze says it is. ETA? Accurate to within 1 or 2 minutes every time I use it.

    Waze has been the most accurate tool I've come across yet, so you must live somewhere where NOBODY uses it or edits the map.
  • 1 Hide
    megiv , June 10, 2013 9:43 AM
    Waze is doing great is certain places. In other places it just lacks user capacity, but in the current growth rate I wouldn't be worried about it.
  • 0 Hide
    Rhinofart , June 10, 2013 10:00 AM
    Shouldn't these drivers be concentrating on driving instead of updating their data on a smart phone? Unless this Waze updates automatically (your speed, position, etc)
  • 2 Hide
    yorich , June 10, 2013 11:25 AM
    Quote:
    Shouldn't these drivers be concentrating on driving instead of updating their data on a smart phone? Unless this Waze updates automatically (your speed, position, etc)


    Waze does it automatically. It detects if you're in traffic (asks you to confirm), and in the recent updates they've added a "gesture" detection ability where you can wave your hand in front of the camera and then dictate an update "Heavy traffic", "Road Hazard", "Police Hidden", etc. Thus making it safer to update other drivers.
  • 0 Hide
    WithoutWeakness , June 10, 2013 12:30 PM
    I've never heard of Waze but it sounds like it has some useful live-updating features for traffic and such. If Google can integrate those features from Waze alongside Street View and their already-accurate Google Maps then it'll be the best navigation tool bar-none.
  • 0 Hide
    ddpruitt , June 10, 2013 6:19 PM
    Quote:
    Quote:
    Waze isn't worth $.02.

    The location information is inaccurate (off by several miles in some cases), exiting a freeway makes a traffic jam, it promotes users that give inaccurate information ....

    I stopped using Waze after 2 weeks because a blank map is more useful.


    You must live out in the boonies. Here in the bay area, CA, Waze has been the most accurate (with a few exceptions) mapping application yet. I used to use google, but found that it's ETA, as well as traffic information was off. Waze on the other hand, has been I'd say 95% accurate. Speed trap? I've been correctly notified 85+% of the time (few times cop wasn't there, but better safe than sorry). Traffic? I hit the slow down exactly where Waze says it is. ETA? Accurate to within 1 or 2 minutes every time I use it.

    Waze has been the most accurate tool I've come across yet, so you must live somewhere where NOBODY uses it or edits the map.


    Waze make far to many naive assumptions to work properly. I have no doubt that it works accurately in a city with a consistent amount of traffic, however it has the following issues:

    If you slow down to get off the freeway and stop it assumes a traffic jam
    If there are few vehicles providing traffic info in the immediate area then it provides very unrealistic speed variations (45 then half a mile later 70 then another half mile 30)
    It merges speeds for different roads when it shouldn't (main street vs side street)
    Alerts stay on for far too long (An accident still listed after two hours? possible but exceedingly rare).
    Instead of adjusting a map it adjusts your position, there are numerous roads in my area that are mapped wrong, instead of fixing them the algorithm either assumes I took some unmapped back-road or thinks my location is off.

    Because of these problems I always got inaccurate information. I know people that tried it but stopped using it because it didn't provide useful information. I would assume that this problem hindered the "social" improvement features, so it improves very very slowly. Since the methods it used to determine it's decisions are locked away I'm fairly sure the people writing them didn't do a very good job. The rely far to heavily on people fixing the problems vs the algorithm smoothing over problems. The proof is in their blog.

    It tends to work in the bay area because a lot of people are willing to try it out and it's built for the patterns seen there. Unfortunately this means it's very lacking in a lot of other places.
  • 0 Hide
    JOSHSKORN , June 10, 2013 8:01 PM
    I do like Waze, actually. I'm just more use to using Google Navigation. What I absolutely hate about Google Navigation is that, by default, it SHOULD tell you when a freeway is closed or if there is traffic congestion reported. I don't know if the same is true about Waze. My old VZ Navigator reported traffic information.
  • 0 Hide
    bombebomb , June 10, 2013 8:17 PM
    Waze is amazing when you're in a city, and even on the outside of cities on interstates it's amazing. Has saved me from tickets, and warned me of traffic jams, tires in the road, wrecks, and even rain :D  I use it constantly, just get a cell phone mount and it's awesome. The navigation is questionable, I would not trust it for a trip in my opinion without a back up GPS, however don't toss it out just because of that waze is great on everyday commutes!