Google is reportedly acquiring the navigation company Waze for more than a billion dollars. The acquisition will further swell the pile of personal data Google collects and uses to serve ads. It also keeps the technology and talent of a hot company out of the hands of competitors in the increasingly important field of mapping.
Waze is a bit like a friend who warns you to skip a certain road because traffic’s a nightmare there today. More than just giving directions, Waze uses data from its more than 40 million app users to calculate the fastest routes. That’s a lot of data, and Google is happy to slurp it up so it can serve us more ads, further customized with our location and travel information.
“Google didn’t want Apple to have a hold of this,” says tech analyst Brian Proffitt, who teaches at Notre Dame’s business school.