Waze logoThe big tech and social companies are well known for making purchases to bolster their services. In recent months, Yahoo has been buying up start-ups and talent from a variety of sources. Facebook has done the same in the past but recently has been focusing on its own services. For Google, it looks like they are on the verge of making another large acquisition, this time in the mapping field.

Buying Waze

Yesterday news broke from a variety of outlets about the probable purchase of Waze by Google. Douglas MacMillan and Brian Womach report for Bloomberg that “Google has agreed to acquire map-software provider Waze Inc. for about $1.1 billion.” Some other outlets are reporting a $1.3 billion cost, so the full details of the deal aren’t exactly concrete yet.

Buzz about a Waze purchase has been making the rounds in the media for a few weeks. Both Facebook and Apple were reported to be either making offers or at the very least expressing interest in buying Waze. Apparently a large reason that Google has been able to follow through with a deal is that it will allow Waze to continue operating independently, so that Waze would not have to move out of its HQ in Israel according to Bill Ray at The Register.

Waze is one of the few competitors in the mapping and satellite navigation world. As Liz Gannes and Mike Isaac report on All Things D, “There are not many global sources of mapping data: just Waze, Google, Navteq, TomTom, and OpenStreetMap.” This purchase would subtract one from that short list and could give regulators something to focus on when the deal goes through all of its legal proceedings.

Why Is Google Buying Waze? Probably Mobile.

Everyone with an online business or agency should always keep an eye on the moves Google makes, especially when it comes to acquisitions. They can show a hint as to where Google is focusing its future efforts. With Waze, there are a few insights to gleam from Google’s push to make a purchase.

The move could simply be an attempt to keep Waze and its mapping technology out of the hands of competitors, as Liz Gannes and Mike Isaac suggest. But another probability is that Google recognizes the importance of mapping for tablet owners and smartphone users. In other words, the mobile market is getting more important.

For consumers, businesses, and agencies, this move should increase competition in maps. As mobile continues to grow, mapping tools have become great tools for consumers to discover lots of brick-and-mortar businesses that are close by. Mapping software provides a great opportunity for businesses and agencies to take advantage of location-based advertising, something Waze relies on to generate its revenue.

Maps might seem like an insignificant part of marketing and advertising, but they get a lot done with their unique ability for location-based advertising. I find that actions speak louder than words. Google knows mobile is taking off and consumers are going to increasingly rely on maps throughout their day. As long as it keeps Google’s competitors on its toes, the move will be good for consumers and businesses alike.

Do you think anything will come from Google’s purchase of Waze? Do you agree that maps will become increasingly more important to the consumer?