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Maps are one of the tools that people often take for granted, at least until recently. With the proliferation of mobile devices and the rampant usage of the Internet, map usage has also seen an astounding increase. At some point, one would need to look for a map in order to get from one place to another. Maps are also able to provide you with information like how long it will take you to reach a destination on a bike, car, or on foot. It truly is an essential part of our daily routines that was highlighted by the availability of map apps on the latest mobile devices.

Google's $1.3 Billion Metal Shield


After several months of uncertainty, Waze’s destiny has already been revealed to the world. This latest acquisition by Google for the price of 1.3 billion dollars is solely driven by their desire to incorporate Waze into their maps. Experts who witnessed Google’s plight firmly believe that buying Waze was the search engine’s way to establish its edge over other industry heavyweights like Apple and Facebook. Although this move will certainly help them boost their maps’ data, it is also expected to put Google miles away from its stiffest competition.

Understanding Waze

Founded by a team of software engineers from Israel in 2008, Waze is a GPS based navigation mobile application which provides users with accurate and specific directions from a certain source to a destination. It is also capable of providing the exact route details and travel times. What Waze basically does is gather information from different sources and users all over the world and strengthens its data. It is then perceived to be more of a social mapping app than anything else. It was Facebook who originally wanted to close the deal with the social mapping expert. The deal fell apart and both parties were not able to come to an agreement primarily due to varying opinions about the relocation of the operations. Apple, on the other hand, was also rumored to be interested in purchasing Waze but there was no official confirmation of it. It was Google who emerged victorious in buying Waze and this buyout is believed to be one of Google’s most expensive investments yet.

Why Google Wanted Waze

The acquisition of Waze is expected to be beneficial for both parties. It will not only aid Google with enriching its map data by supplying real time information and reliable user input but is also expected to prevent its rivals, Facebook and Apple, from gaining access to the pool of useful information Waze has acquired over the years. Waze has proven that it is a force to be reckoned with when it comes to mapping. With over 50 million users and most of them actively contributing real time traffic and hazard information, Waze has a strong user base no other mapping app can rival. Although Google already has its own Map feature, it would still be interesting to see the end result of Waze’s integration.

Over the past years, Waze was able to raise 67 million USD and a large portion of the 1.3 billion dollars it will get from Google will go directly to venture capitalists. Google is feeling a bit more generous. Aside from the massive amount they paid to buy Waze, they are also planning to spend over 100 million USD to give to employees as performance bonuses. Google’s purchase of Waze might have shocked its rivals and it was a move they were not prepared to counter. Apple’s struggle in enhancing its mapping apps on iOS has already been evident for the past year and Facebook, which focused more on providing VoIP services to its users, lost a great opportunity with Waze since the social network needs reinforcement with developing its own map application.