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Google snags social mapping company Waze in $1.1 billion deal

It looks like Waze has finally found a suitor. Google announced yesterday that it had acquired the social mapping company for an undisclosed amount of money, although AllThingsD says the deal was worth $1.1 billion (around £702 million).

In an official blog post, Google says that Waze will remain in operation in Israel, but the company clearly has plans to enhance Google Maps with Waze’s features. The app allows drivers to report on traffic jams or alternative routes, with anyone else using Waze then seeing real time updates as new information comes in. That could be a nice new feature for Google Maps if Google chooses to implement the social aspect.

AllThingsD says that $1 billion was paid out in cash, with another $100 million set aside for “performance payouts”, and possibly even stock options. The company has certainly come a long way from Apple’s original $500 million bid, and Google’s final number is approximately what Facebook was reportedly willing to spend just a few short weeks ago.

There’s no word on when we’ll see Google implement features from Waze, but it’ll probably be a long process. In the meantime, Google is updating its maps to include a fresh, new interface. Clutter has been removed from the user interface, and the search giant is including features from Google Earth that will work right within the browser without the need for a separate download. The service is still in beta, but if you want to check it out in the meantime you can request an invite.

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