Google has officially purchased social-mapping data company Waze in order to improve its Maps service with crowd-sourced real-time traffic updates. After months of speculation, Google finally acquired the Israeli startup, which it hopes will help drivers use its services to outsmart gridlock.
There’s no official word on how much Google paid for Waze, although TechCrunch notes that recent speculation pegged the price at around $1 billion. Reports that the two companies have finally inked a deal are particularly bad news for Facebook and Apple, which had both eyed the startup previously.
Google is hopeful that Waze will help bring useful new updates to Google Maps, which has increasingly become the backbone for a number of mobile apps that rely on the service.
“The Waze community and its dedicated team have created a great source of timely road corrections and updates,” wrote Brian McClendon, Google’s VP of all Geo projects. “We welcome them to Google and look forward to working with them in our ongoing effort to make a comprehensive, accurate and useful map of the world.”