The Story Behind Google Buying Waze
The sale was a milestone for Israel’s young but huge startup community: The first Israeli consumer-app company to be bought for over $1 billion. In an instant, the whole “Startup Nation” decided to quit aiming for fast exits and build billion-dollar companies instead.
When Google bought Waze we were all amazed they paid $1B. Not so much in that we didn’t think Waze was going to sell for $1B1 but that Google needed them. In the end it was simple for Waze:
What made Google pretty attractive for us that No. 1, the company stayed in Israel. No. 2, we remained with our mission, to help drivers avoid traffic jams.
Well and that $1B was pretty attractive too. I’m honestly not sure what is going to happen to Waze moving forward. I still use it daily on my commute. Waze is partnering with cities to improve traffic results and I know millions of others rely on it for better traffic results than Google Maps or Apple Maps. But that’s the kicker right? Questions that come to mind to me are:
- What’s the incentive to innovate beyond improving traffic results?
- What’s the status of the maps behind the application, are they being updated?
- Does Google plan to shut Waze down and “integrate” traffic into Google Maps?
- Is Waze just another example of supporting a proprietary map only to see it be pulled away from the community?
Google bought Waze over 2 years ago. We haven’t seen anything new from Waze beyond these “partnering” programs2. I’ll continue to use Waze for my commuting because it is such a time save but the end game of Waze is probably not benefiting me.