Google Inc. has agreed to acquire map-software provider Waze Inc. for about $1.1 billion, Bloomberg reported. The acquisition, which is expected to be announced today, is a move by Google to keep competitors such as Facebook Inc. from eroding its lead in mobile navigation programs.

 

As consumers shift to smartphones and tablets and away from personal computers, Facebook and Google are increasing efforts to court customers on the move. Waze, whose mobile app solicits input from more than 40 million users to improve directions and display traffic and road-hazard details, would help Google add social features to its mapping tool. It may also help Google extend its dominance in maps over rival Apple Inc.

 

"Google needs to maintain supremacy in maps, as they are a key to mobile advertising," Andrew Frank, an analyst at Gartner Inc., said in an email to Bloomberg. "They need more ways to shore up their social efforts."

 

Google has been discussing a deal with Waze at least since May 23, when Bloomberg News initially reported the talks. The acquisition plan was first reported yesterday by Globes, an Israeli financial daily. Globes listed the price as $1.3 billion.

 

In April, Facebook announced plans to construct a data center in Altoona; on the same day Google announced it would expand its existing data center operations in Council Bluffs.