Google Buys Waze - InformationWeek

InformationWeek is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

02:03 PM
Connect Directly

Google Buys Waze

As a company built largely on the latent labor in Web links, Google sees value in contributed traffic reporting.

It's official: Google has acquired Waze, maker of the Waze social navigation app.

Brian McClendon, Google VP of geographic products, said in a blog post that Google had concluded the acquisition. The company declined to disclose how much it is paying, but reports suggest a $1.3 billion price tag.

The Waze app works by periodically transmitting data about the user's location back to the company's servers, allowing the company to compute and distribute real-time traffic data. It also encourages users to submit reports about road conditions for the benefit of the community (not to mention the company). That's the social aspect of the app: the savvy use of free labor, something Google harnessed profitably in its PageRank algorithm.

[ Read about eight of the most interesting products and features from Apple's Worldwide Developer Conference. See 8 Apple Changes That Matter. ]

By coincidence or design, Google's announcement comes amid Apple's Worldwide Developer Conference. Apple, having stumbled last year with the launch of a Google-free version of its iOS Map app, was reportedly interested in acquiring Waze as part of its effort to improve its map services. Facebook was said to have been interested as well.

Tony Cripps, principal analyst at Ovum, in an emailed statement characterized the deal as both an offensive and defensive move. "Acquiring Waze is further evidence that the company feels the need to deepen its mapping and location services functionality still further, and Waze's functionality would certainly help it achieve that, as it would have Google's rivals," he said.

Cripps also sees Google benefiting from Waze's popularity among iOS users. Google may be able to leverage this to enhance its Google+ social strategy, he suggests.

In a blog post of his own, Waze CEO Noam Bardin offered reassurance that nothing will be changing for Waze, a constant concern among users of services that get absorbed into other companies. "We will maintain our community, brand, service and organization -- the community hierarchy, responsibilities and processes will remain the same," he said. "The same Waze people will continue to collaborate with you, and we will continue to innovate our product and services, making them more social, functional and helpful for everyday drivers."

Yet Bardin clearly sees the need for a change of business structure to continue growing his company. An IPO, he says, tends to change a company's focus away from customers and toward bankers. So Waze has elected to go Google.

"We evaluated many options and believe Google is the best partner for Waze, our map editors, area managers, champs and nearly 50 million Wazers globally," he said.

We welcome your comments on this topic on our social media channels, or [contact us directly] with questions about the site.
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
The State of Chatbots: Pandemic Edition
Jessica Davis, Senior Editor, Enterprise Apps,  9/10/2020
Deloitte on Cloud, the Edge, and Enterprise Expectations
Joao-Pierre S. Ruth, Senior Writer,  9/14/2020
Data Science: How the Pandemic Has Affected 10 Popular Jobs
Cynthia Harvey, Freelance Journalist, InformationWeek,  9/9/2020
White Papers
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
2020 State of DevOps Report
2020 State of DevOps Report
Download this report today to learn more about the key tools and technologies being utilized, and how organizations deal with the cultural and process changes that DevOps brings. The report also examines the barriers organizations face, as well as the rewards from DevOps including faster application delivery, higher quality products, and quicker recovery from errors in production.
Current Issue
IT Automation Transforms Network Management
In this special report we will examine the layers of automation and orchestration in IT operations, and how they can provide high availability and greater scale for modern applications and business demands.
Flash Poll