Google announced on Tuesday it had bought Waze, a much fought-over Israeli social mapping company for an as yet unconfirmed $1.3bn.
Both Apple and Facebook have reportedly been courting the startup that updates its service in real time by incorporating users' driving times and other feedback on accidents and traffic jams.
In a blog post on Tuesday Google said it plans to
enhance Google Maps with Waze's traffic updates features, while improving Waze with Google's search capabilities.
"We've all been there: stuck in traffic, frustrated that you chose the wrong route on the drive to work. But imagine if you could see real-time traffic updates from friends and fellow travelers ahead of you, calling out 'fender bender ... totally stuck in left lane!' and showing faster routes that others are taking," Brian McClendon, Google vice president, wrote.
"The Waze community and its dedicated team have created a great source of timely road corrections and updates."
McClendon said the Waze product development team will remain in Israel and operate separately for now. The value of the deal has yet to be disclosed but at $1.3bn it is expected to be Google's fourth largest by dollar value.
The search giant announced a major overhaul of its mapping products at its recent IO13 developer's conference in San Francisco and has been incorporating much more personal information into maps. McClendon, who heads Google's maps division, has been developing ways to personalise maps for each user.
Waze, a five-year-old company, was founded by Uri Levine, software engineer Ehud Shabtai, and Amir Shinar and originally called Linqmap.
The free service has been growing rapidly. According to the company over 20m people were using the service as of June 2012, twice the number of people using the service six months previously. Waze claims users have driven over 3.2bn miles using the service.
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