Google buys Waze

Google announces they have acquired the Israeli startup Waze, which produces a social-driven drive-route-mapping technology that has transformed the way I get from point A to B here in Los Angeles. Rumors are Google paid $1.3 billion.

Barry Schwartz at Search Engine Land:

The big questions are (1) will this acquisition be allowed and if so (2) will Google allow Waze to be an independent product and brand? Google did imply that Waze will eventually be brought into Google Maps completely, saying the software and company will “operate separately for now.” Google also said they are “excited about the prospect of enhancing Google Maps with some of the traffic update features provided by Waze and enhancing Waze with Google’s search capabilities.

And, will they transform that godawful UI. I hate the cartoony characters and the gamified cute-bloat, and it'd be great if there were a way for it to suck less battery. And obtrusive ads that block navigational info! But it's such a great service for car-centric cities like LA that I have put up with all that crap, happily. Will be interesting to see what happens next.