GOOGLE has pipped both Apple and Facebook to buy Waze, an Israeli social mapping service popular amongst commuters.
Waze, which has almost 50m members, uses a smartphone’s location data to improve its maps and create real-time traffic information, allowing drivers to take the fastest route to a destination.
It is now expected that Google will use Waze’s data to improve its own maps software, for example by warning users about traffic jams. The price of the deal was not disclosed but is believed to be around $1.3bn (£832m).
Google has long had the internet’s most popular maps but Apple – which was also rumoured to be interested in Waze – launched a rival version last year and has invested heavily in improving the much-maligned service, while Facebook is looking to challenge Google as a resource for finding restaurants and other places of interest.