Rumor: Google and Facebook face-off in a $1 billion bidding war for Waze

May 24, 2013
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waze

You may have heard of Waze, a community driven navigation app, but it’s certainly not a household name. Not yet, anyway. Even so, according to some industry insiders who tipped Bloomberg, Google is rumored to be interested in purchasing the company.

For the uninitiated, Waze operates a free GPS navigation service which is supported by community members sharing real-time traffic and road information. The service is used to notify drivers of road works, speed traps, and other potential hazards, using input from other users. The business generates revenue from location-based advertising through its smartphone app and tools available over the Web.

The proposition has the potential to set Google up directly against Facebook in a bidding war for the company. Sources have indicated that Facebook already held talks to purchase Waze for around $1 billion earlier in the month. Over the last few years, the company has also attracted investments from Microsoft, and back in 2011, raised around $30 million from various other investors and venture capital firms.

As a side note, Apple is currently not part of any take-over talks, despite initially raising an interest in the company back in January, which probably had something to do with the Apple Maps debacle.

Waze Android app

Waze offers users a variety of location specific information, which could be of interest to both Google and Facebook for targeted advertising as well as traffic features.

Google is most likely interested in the company because, as you already know, it’s pretty hot on map and navigation technologies. The acquisition of Waze would see Google introduce various social features to its existing technologies, whilst also locking out its rivals and giving the company an even greater edge over its competitors. Not to mention the opportunity to add another revenue stream to its already popular maps and location services.

Facebook, on the other hand, is probably keen to add new features to its location tagging functions, although it’s a little unclear as to why the company is interested in a traffic orientated application. Instead, Facebook would most likely only be interested in Waze for the location based advertising potential.

Having said that, according to Bloomberg, nothing has been decided yet, neither of the two bidders appear to be close to finalising a deal, and talks could still fall appart. Alternatively, and perhaps more likely, after seeing significant interest from other parties Waze could also opt to try to acquire further financial investments in order to continue development on its own service, which currently has over 40 million users.

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