updated 12:29 pm EDT, Sun June 9, 2013
Google could be on the verge of buying social mapping service
Search and mapping giant Google will reportedly scoop up Israeli social mapping startup Waze for roughly $1.3 billion, according to new reports. Google, according to Haaretz, is very close to sealing the Waze deal, which would keep competitors like Facebook and Apple from improving their standing in the burgeoning location services market. Critical to Google's progress in the negotiations, according to reports, was the search company's willingness to bend on the location of Waze.
Sources close to the negotiations say that Waze's team was set on keeping its operations based in Israel. Google, which has been growing its operations in that country, agreed to keep Waze's development there for at least three years. Facebook, which had also been looking to buy Waze, was set on moving Waze into the United States, and this was a point of much conflict in the negotiations between the two firms.
Google also is said to have agreed to pay Waze's purchase price in cash, whereas Facebook wanted to pay half cash, half stock.
The deal will see more social elements added to Google's mapping operations. With a user base in excess of 50 million, Waze allows users to get realtime updates on traffic, as well as quick rerouting when the system determines there is a better route depending on traffic conditions. The startup, one of the more successful out of Israel, was considered by some observers to be the best means for companies like Facebook and Apple to quickly improve the standing of their location services compared to Google.