If Google moves forward with a reported $1.3B acquisition of Israeli navigation and traffic app Waze Inc., it would be the search giant’s fourth-biggest deal by dollar value, The Wall Street Journal says. Waze was founded in 2008 and uses crowdsourcing to provide routing and real-time traffic updates, including police presence, road accidents, speed cameras, and hazards. It has nearly 50M users in about 190 countries. Waze and Facebook had been in talks, but Israel’s Globes reports the social network balked at the price tag and at a stipulation that Waze’s Israeli employees continue working in Israel. (Google has an office in Israel.) Apple had been thought in the running for Waze, but CEO Tim Cook said in May that the company had not made a bid.A Google deal could be announced as early as this week with Barclays analysts viewing the acquisition positively “as it would help Google maintain its leading position in web-based maps by keeping a strategic mapping asset out of the hands of competitors, while also improving Google’s Maps offering by incorporating Waze’s proprietary real-time traffic updates”. The Barclays note adds, “Moreover, we believe the valuation that Google would ascribe to Waze in such a transaction, at over $1B, speaks to the strategic importance that Google places on Maps and the revenue opportunity the company sees for the product.”
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