Developers ponder Waze's future with Google behind the wheel

It seemed like a long time coming, but the latest billion-dollar app acquisition has the developer community focused on the road ahead for mapping, big data and many other opportunities.

Google confirmed its takeover of Waze, a social app that lets users improve their driving experience through crowdsourced traffic reports and turn-by-turn GPS navigation. The Israeli-based startup had been in play for months, reportedly courted by Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) before Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) made a successful offer.

Given that Waze has already been downloaded by 47 million drivers, it's not surprising that the reaction online was both swift and highly polarized, though several developers seemed happy to see a fellow app maker achieve such a successful exit. Others were decidedly less enthused.

Given that Apple licenses data from Waze for its own Apple Maps product, some developers wondered if the company was falling behind in the location-based services space.

Many interpreted the purchase as a way to increase Google's big data capabilities. However, the important thing for devs is that Google prove it can capitalize on its latest acquisition for the benefit of the larger consumer market for mapping and navigation tools.

Then again, there were many rumblings about a dire future for Waze. This is something Google will have to tackle as it completes the acquisition.