Waze sale signals new growth for Israeli high techJun. 13, 2013
Google's $1.03 billion purchase of Israeli navigation software maker Waze marks an important milestone for the country that affectionately calls itself "Start-Up Nation."
The acquisition is not only among the largest-ever purchase prices for an Israeli start-up. It also cements a recent push by the local high-tech industry into the fast-growing consumer market.
"I think it's a big step forward," said Erel Margalit, a leading Israeli entrepreneur and opposition lawmaker in parliament. "Israel is no longer just a R&D center. It's a creative hub."
Waze's popular smartphone application combines GPS navigation software with social networking features, allowing users to improve the service's directions and traffic reports with their own data. This crowd-sourcing aspect enables the service to adapt to changing road conditions, such as accidents and speed traps, in real time.
After rumors of sales to both Facebook and Apple surfaced in recent months, Google, already an established leader in Internet mapping, beat out its rivals for Waze and its base of nearly 50 million users.
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