The long courtship for Waze may finally be over — with Google as the victor.
Sources tell the Israel-based newspaper Globes that Google has acquired the traffic and navigation app for $1.3 billion. The news comes after Google, Facebook, and Apple were all rumored to be vying for the company, which uses crowd-sourced traffic data to offer turn-by-turn navigation.
Founded in 2009, Waze is backed by $67 million in funding and has 45 million users, making it one of Israel’s most successful startups.
While the deal is obviously a big (albeit expensive) win for Google, it’s perhaps a bigger loss for Facebook, which tried and failed to acquire the company. According to an earlier report, Facebook’s negations fell through in part because Waze wanted to keep its employees in Israel, which Facebook wasn’t crazy about.
While Waze is arguably a better fit for Google, it still would have been a good acquisition for Facebook, which doesn’t yet have its own decent mapping solution.
Google’s official comment on the story? “We don’t comment on rumors or speculation,” a company rep said in an email.
VB’s research team is studying mobile user acquisition... Chime in here, and we’ll share the results.