Google Officially Acquires Israel Startup Waze

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After weeks of speculations, it’s official: Google has purchased crowd-sourced traffic app Waze, the company announced in a blog post.

“To help you outsmart traffic, today we’re excited to announce we’ve closed the acquisition of Waze,” Brian McClendon, vice president of Google Geo, wrote in a blog post.

The Waze product development team will remain in Israel and operate separately for now. We’re excited about the prospect of enhancing Google Maps with some of the traffic update features provided by Waze and enhancing Waze with Google’s search capabilities.

“Nothing practical will change here at Waze,” CEO Noam Bardin wrote in a separate blog post. “We will maintain our community, brand, service and organization.”

Reports about Google buying Waze emerged in May, with speculation that the tech giant was gunning for a deal to “prevent [Waze] from falling into the hands” of rival Facebook, Reuters said.

Financial details of the deal were not disclosed, but earlier reports tipped the purchase at $1.3 billion.

“Larry Page, Brian McClendon and the Google Maps teams have been following our progress closely and are excited about what we’ve accomplished,” Bardin wrote. “They share our vision of a global mapping service, updated in real time by local communities, and wish to help us accelerate.”

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