Feeds

The only Waze is Google: Ad giant tipped to gobble map app 'for $1.3bn'

Pac-Man-satnav-ish upstart in bidding war with Apple, Facebook

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

Crowd-sourced map app maker Waze has apparently accepted a billion-dollar buyout from Google - ending months of speculation about who was going to end up with the Israeli firm.

Apple and Facebook have both been sniffing around Waze, which draws upon the movements of its 50 million users to generate live traffic information and improve its satnav-like directions. Israeli business rag Globes now reports Google has plunked $1.3bn (£837m) on the table along with an agreement to keep development in Israel.

Globes reckons that agreement was critical as Facebook had refused to guarantee its employees in Israel would stay on the payroll, but Google has programming teams in the country so that wasn't a problem for the Android giant - which has its own Google Maps service.

Waze launched in 2009, littering its maps with Pac-Mac-like pellets to encourage exploration by its users. The maps even feature cherries and other virtual bonuses on little-used roads, which users can collect to increase their status while confirming that those pathways do indeed exist and are usable.

Traffic congestion is equally mapped in real time by volunteers pleased to help the community effort with the happy side effect of turning Waze founders into multimillionaires.

Waze never had a business model as such, the long term plan was always to be bought so the purchase comes as no surprise. Apple was reportedly interested in the company back in January, followed by Facebook which apparently offered more cash but has now (assuming Globes' sources are correct) been outbid by the Googleplex.

Map software is a commodity product these days. Google touts its satnav-like service to web-connected desktops and handhelds, but Nokia's map software for smartphones works when your internet connectivity is unavailable. Both are competing to make money from local advertisers who need prominent placements on maps to make a living, so differentiation is important.

Waze offers nothing more than the text messages sent by people stuck in traffic to local radio stations for the DJs to read out, only without the prattling Alan Partridge-types or requirement for the driver to know which road they'll be using. How to make that worth $1.3bn is for Google to ponder. ®

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
Not appy with your Chromebook? Well now it can run Android apps
Google offers beta of tricky OS-inside-OS tech
Greater dev access to iOS 8 will put us AT RISK from HACKERS
Knocking holes in Apple's walled garden could backfire, says securo-chap
NHS grows a NoSQL backbone and rips out its Oracle Spine
Open source? In the government? Ha ha! What, wait ...?
Google extends app refund window to two hours
You now have 120 minutes to finish that game instead of 15
Intel: Hey, enterprises, drop everything and DO HADOOP
Big Data analytics projected to run on more servers than any other app
New 'Cosmos' browser surfs the net by TXT alone
No data plan? No WiFi? No worries ... except sluggish download speed
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile
Data demand and the rise of virtualization is challenging IT teams to deliver storage performance, scalability and capacity that can keep up, while maximizing efficiency.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.