Is Apple Maps about to change its Waze?

Report says the tech giant offered almost a half-billion dollars for the Israeli crowd-sourcing maps and traffic application.

January 2, 2013 22:28
1 minute read.
Waze navigation application

Waze navigation application 370. (photo credit: Courtesy Waze)


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Critics said that Apple lost its way in September when it replaced the ever-accurate Google Maps with its own built-in application on iOS, the operating system for iPhone and iPad. But a report on Wednesday claims that the tech giant may use an Israeli company to get back on track.

According to the Israeli technology website News- Geek, Apple offered almost a half-billion dollars for Waze Mobile, maker of the popular crowd-sourcing maps and traffic application. The price may well be worth it for the tech giant to undo its ignominy, and put its own software, well, back on the map.

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Founded in 2009 by Noam Barden, Waze has raised more than $67 million in capital, according to Globes, and has more than 20 million subscribers active in 45 countries.

Because Waze uses clever crowd-sourcing technology, it has amassed precise data. Drivers use the application to find traffic conditions and directions, and simultaneously send up-to-the-minute data back to the company’s servers.

The app also allows its users to edit maps and thereby provide fine-tuned detail.

While few found fault in the design of Apple Maps, users were flummoxed to discover that the underlying data led them astray, placing national landmarks in the middle of rivers and fumbling straightforward directions. Australian police even warned against using the application after having to rescue several people who followed its misdirection into the middle of the scorching Outback.

Apple CEO Tim Cook was forced to issue an apology for the misstep. Even faithful fans of the company were relieved in mid-December when Google released its maps application in the iTunes store, where it remains the most-downloaded free app.

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