Google is close to completing a $1.3 billion deal to acquire social mapping firm Waze — finally ending months of speculation about the startup — according to media reports out of its native Israel.
Globes, a leading online
newspaper in the country, reports that Google is currently tying up final deals
and ‘will soon’ announce that it has captured the much sought after startup —
which both Apple and Facebook have been linked with in recent times.
Update: AllThingsD cites two sources close to the deal who
verify Globes’ report, one estimates that the acquisition could be announced as
soon on Tuesday.
deal would be an interesting one that would pair Google’s vast expertise and
data in the mapping space, with Waze’s engaged and growing community of drivers
and map editors (see below for stats and data). Waze CEO Noam Bardin has spoken
of the difficulty of competing with ‘vast players’, and linking up with Google
would provide some serious steel and new resources for the service. You can also
imagine Waze’s ‘socialified’ maps fitting well with Google Maps and Google+,
while it would also be a defensive move to prevent the technology being acquired
by Apple or other rivals.
Interestingly, Globes says — citing sources — that the
key to the deal is Google’s decision to allow Waze’s senior management and core
team to remain based in Israel, where the search giant has a growing presence of
its own. That runs opposite to the issues that were said to have broken
Facebook’s efforts to land Waze for a reported $1 billion.