Google Directs Traffic App Waze into the Buy Lane

Google has announced the acquisition of social mapping app Waze for an undisclosed amount, and for now, the Isreal based development team will remain in place, a company blog post noted.

Google Maps Undisputed Leader

We liken this buy to the Facebook/Instagram deal. While we don't know if Google spent US$ 1 billion on Waze, the up and coming app eventually could have been a Google Maps competitor. This is how Facebook saw Instagram, a large social community that was really the only possible threat to Facebook's dominance of the space.

Whether Waze or Instagram would ever have actually gotten as big as their would be competition is up for debate, but they were big enough and fast growing enough to get noticed. Their popularity pushed Facebook and Google to snap them up anyway.

Waze helps its community of commuters map out the best routes to get to work, and its users give real time updates on accidents, construction, delays and traffic patters so others can adjust. It's 50 million user base shows just how important the issue of traffic delays has become in the 21st century. Waze helps those stuck in traffic use their mobile devices to hack one of life's most miserable situations.

Google plans to update Waze with its renowned search ability, while Google Maps will be infused with Waze's traffic update abilities, a Google blog post announced.

Waze and Means

Waze is a free mobile app that automatically updates real time traffic info just by driving around with the app open. It includes voice enabled navigation, automatic re routing and allows people to find the cheapest gas station along a given route. There's even the ability to see Facebook friends who are driving to the same place. We could rightly expect this feature to be updated to include Google+ friends instead.

Google now has the Waze technology, its 50 million member user base, and all the data those people have been pumping into the app over the last few years. Outside of the brief announcements we've already highlighted, Google isn't saying what it plans to do with Waze, but the technology will likely find its way into future products like Google Glass and ,of course, those robot cars everyone will be wanting.

We welcome our new robot car driving overlords, and look forward to seeing the progress Google Maps undergoes with this added functionality. Let us know in the comments if you are as addicted to Google Maps as we are or if you're a Waze fan and want to tell us what you think of this deal.