Google is buying online mapping service Waze in a $1.03 billion deal that keeps a potentially valuable tool away from its rivals while allowing it to gain technology that could improve the accuracy and usefulness of its own popular navigation system.
The acquisition announced Tuesday ends several months of speculation as Waze flirted with potential buyers interested in its rapidly growing service. Waze blends elements of a social network into its maps to produce more precise directions and more reliable information about local traffic conditions.
Google Inc. is believed to have trumped two of its fiercest foes, Facebook Inc. and Apple Inc., in the bidding for Waze, which is based in Israel but also maintains a Palo Alto, Calif., office. Full story for BostonGlobe.com subscribers.