Just a short while ago, Google VP Brian McClendon posted a note on Google's blog site stating the Google has closed the acquisition of cool social-based mapping company Waze. The post was exceedingly short on details but did note that the Waze product development team will remain in Israel and will continue to operate separately for the immediate future.
The post goes on to offer a very short encomium for Waze and its users. By now we all know what Waze does and how it does it. As the company approaches 50 million active users McClendon also pointed out that Google will be reaching out to this "…vibrant community, who are the DNA of this app…" Waze also has around 70,000 members who actually help to edit maps, add points of interest and add numerous road condition details. They won't see any of the M&A money, however.
No doubt we will soon enough hear about future plans to meld Waze into the Google+ ecosystem, and all of us current Waze users will no doubt become part of that ecosystem -- though many of us already are. Google should easily be able to merge the two ecosystems in short order.
Immediately we are likely to see Waze remain a self-contained mobile app, though we will also begin to see the "Waze way" of handling traffic scenarios through its ecosystem of users find its way into Google Maps. Waze will no doubt also begin to grow in size as Google's financial and developer resources begin to find their way to Waze. Assuming Google doesn't move to change the way Waze works, we will all benefit from a much better subsequent ability for Waze to deliver on new features and new innovation.
Google in the meantime will also be able to contribute its search engine capabilities as well, so that Waze itself will no doubt become smarter. This will be of benefit to its ecosystem of users, of course. For Google it will no doubt also eventually lead to better targeted local ad capabilities - something that Facebook was after in its own pursuit of Waze.
There are absolutely no details on deal size or any other financial conditions at this point in time. Google has been rumored to be thinking in the $1.3 billion range but we'll need to wait until its next earnings call at least before we will know for sure what the ultimate price tag was for buying a tiny 100 person operation. Of course when you factor in the near 50 million users across 190 countries, the dynamics do change a bit. Assuming the price tag is near reality it would make Waze Google's fourth largest M&A deal.
For the immediate future we hope Waze doesn't change. We like it just the way it is. Google Maps is also an awesome product so we need not fret that Google will make a hash of things. We're looking forward to what the acquisition will bring us.
TechZone360 Senior Editor
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