JERUSALEM, Israel -- Google announced Tuesday the acquisition of Waze, a popular Israeli mapping service for an estimated $1.3 billion, making it one of the largest purchases ever of an Israeli startup company.
Founded in 2008, the Waze app's popularity with Israeli drivers has grown exponentially, particularly for tracking and updating road conditions in real time, giving drivers a heads up on accident reports, speed traps, road closures and others conditions that affect driving time, while providing alternative routes.
"Congratulations, you reached the goal!" Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Waze CEO Noam Bardin Tuesday evening. "You put Israeli technology on the global map! You are also contributing to state coffers, which is welcome at this time. I am waiting for your next start-up! You have done exceptional work."
Bardin said the company will continue to operate in Israel for the foreseeable future.