Google confirmed its acquisition of the Israeli navigation company Waze.
In an announcement Tuesday on the company’s official blog, Google Vice President Brian McClendon did not indicate the price Google paid to acquire Waze, though reports put the figure at $1.1 billion.
McClendon said the product development team at Waze, a free downloadable navigation app with nearly 50 million subscribers, “will remain in Israel and operate separately for now.”
Talks between Waze and the social networking site Facebook reportedly broke down over Waze’s insistence that the company’s managers and employees remain in their Israeli headquarters in Raanana rather than relocating to Menlo Park, Calif.
McClendon said his company is “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.”
Waze, available for Google’s Android , Apple’s iOS, Nokia’s Symbian, Microsoft ‘s Windows Mobile and Windows Phone 8 and BlackBerry was founded in 2008 by Uri Levine, Ehud Shabtai and Amir Shinar; its 50 million users share real-time traffic information via an app that is part social network and part GPS.
CEO Noam Bardin confirmed the purchase, writing on his company’s blog that Google co-founder Larry Page, McClendon and the Google Maps staff “are partners in our vision to serve global mapping, updated in real-time by communities and those interested in helping us develop.”
Google has operated in Israel since 2007, and an innovation incubator center opened in Tel Aviv in March 2012.