Weeks after Facebook made an offer for the navigation app Waze, Google makes a winning bid to acquire the Israel-based startup: a $1.3-billion bid, that is.
Waze is a mobile navigation app that crowdsources real time traffic data from users and aggregates that data to report information about traffic congestion, police presence, road accidents, speed cameras, and road hazards. With almost 50 million users, Waze has garnered the social traction needed to pull off a crowdsourcing app.
At the end of May, Facebook reportedly bid $1-billion for Waze, but did not accept Waze’s condition that Israeli employees continue working in Israel. Google, on the other hand, has promised to allow Waze employees to continue work from Israel for the next three years while maintaining the Waze branding, according to Forbes.
Though Waze and Google seem happy with the deal, observers are uncertain the acquisition will survive the scrutiny of anti-trust regulators. Google currently holds 93% of the online advertising market and is, by far, the leading maps and navigation app on Android and iOS devices. Will regulators allow Google to sink its teeth deeper into mobile advertising by giving the company greater access to mobile users? This remains to be seen.
Regulators aside, Google’s acquisition of Waze would significantly bolster Google’s existing navigation services by adding a successful crowdsourcing element to the mix. What do you think will happen to the Google-Waze deal?