1. FAST LANE

    Google Buys Mapping Startup Waze

    In this March 15, 2012 photo, Ben Gleitzman waves his hand over a traffic and navigation app called Waze on his Apple iPhone in a Menlo Park, Calif., parking lot during a demonstration showing traffic conditions on the display. Thousands of enthusiasts traveling the world using little more than GPS-equipped smartphones are helping Waze and other services to build in-depth maps of cities and countries around the world. Consumers, companies and even disaster relief organizations have come to rely on such ìcrowdsourcedî maps and the ability to update them almost instantaneously. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)

    Paul Sakuma/AP

    Google further solidified its mapping dominance today with the purchase of Waze, an Israeli mapping startup. Waze uses satellite signals from members’ smartphones to create real-time maps with traffic information and faster routes. “Imagine if you could see real-time traffic updates from friends and fellow travelers ahead of you, calling out 'fender bender...totally stuck in left lane!’ and showing faster routes that others are taking,” wrote Google Geo Vice President Brian McClendon. Waze, which will remain based in Israel, has 47 million users. Google reportedly paid $1.3 billion for the company.

    Read it at Reuters