Following recent reports suggesting Facebook was in talks with mapping and navigation company Waze, it now appears Web giant Google is also interested, a situation that could result in the kind of bidding war of which startup founders must surely dream.
According to a Bloomberg report Thursday, Israel-based Waze, which was founded six years ago, is seeking over a $1 billion in any possible deal, and with two titans like Google and Facebook reportedly sniffing around, who’s to say it won’t happen. And if Waze plays its cards right, the figure could go even higher.
Bloomberg added in its report that, according to people familiar with the matter, the startup could also remain independent and instead attempt to raise a second round of venture capital financing.
A report earlier this month claimed Facebook was in talks with Waze over a possible acquisition as the social networking giant looks at ways of increasing the amount of time users spend on its site. Gartner research director Brian Blau suggested to the New York Times recently that Facebook could also use Waze’s data – which is pulled from drivers’ smartphones when they’re on the road – to “deliver contextual advertising” based on user location. However, Thursday’s news indicates that Google also has plans for Waze.
Whether the Mountain View company is considering using Waze’s technology to help enhance its own map-based offerings, or simply wants to acquire it to prevent rival Facebook from getting its hands on it, remains to be seen. It could, of course, be a combination of both.
Waze’s mobile app pulls together community-generated information sent from drivers’ mobile devices, using the data to provide travel updates and ideal routes according to road conditions at the time. Waze’s social element also makes it easy for “commuting buddies” to keep in touch with one another and share information.
The iOS and Android app has almost 47 million active users and has managed to more than double its user base in the last year alone.