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.

Comments

  • http://twitter.com/jusuchin85 Justin Alex

    I wish it would be Google who gets it, rather than Facebook. I would rather see further improvements to an already good navigation app by Google, than to see more advertising from Facebook.

    • aholsteinson

      Definitely. If this rumor is true, I hope Google is the one that ends up buying Waze.

  • Doug Ford

    I don’t want anyone to buy it. Too much potential for a company to buy them and then just kill the service. People use waze, among other reasons, when GNav doesn’t work for them.

    Having said that, given the two evils, I’d prefer Google to take them over. At least they might have a better reason to grab up the company (outside of the very real possibility that they don’t want the competition)….facebook’s use of it would be to strip out what they want and then kill it for sure.

  • http://www.facebook.com/amadeus.klein Amadeus Klein

    honestly from what I’ve read Waze will be bought in the near future by someone, it’s a solid idea…

    For me, Google maps with user contributed live traffic is a huge win… I can’t count how many times I’ve been navigating on google maps and see a nice green road ahead and suddenly come to a stop in real life because the traffic data they use isn’t real time…

    Google go for it!

  • Sushant Taneja

    I hope Google gets it. It’s highly critical for Google since they are coming out with self-driving cars.

  • sfasdasd

    Facebook is stupid because they’re failing anyways so why buy this company for 1billion? o.O
    2. microsoft is stupid also because they cant catch up with the mobile market
    3. google should get it 100%.

  • tBs_Battousai

    I use both Waze and Google navigation and the only thing that Waze does better is it has speed camera alerts…