Google said to be vying with Facebook for acquisition of map app Waze

Waze, a young app company based in Israel, has caught the eyes of both Google and Facebook, according to a new report. 

A screenshot from the Waze application.

Last we heard of Waze, the GPS app was the target of a $1 billion acquisition bid from Facebook. Neither Facebook nor Waze, which is based in Israel, confirmed the rumor, but the whole thing made a lot of sense: Waze is a community-driven mapping application, and with the right amount of finessing, it could be integrated into the existing Facebook infrastructure. 

In fact, at the time, the acquisition appeared to be all but a done deal. "The main issue... is whether to keep Waze in Israel or take it to the US," one blogger noted

But now comes word that Google, increasingly a competitor of Facebook's, is also interested in snapping up Waze. According to a new report in Reuters, Google has been in conversation with reps at Waze, although the discussions remain "fluid and could change in tenor at any time." Google has not commented; nor has Waze. 

So what would Google want with Waze? Well, it might be a simple (but expensive) power grab: By snapping up the company, it could prevent Facebook from getting its hands on the Waze app (and thus threatening Google's own Maps app). 

In addition, writes Hayley Tsukayama of the Washington Post, Waze has been growing steadily, with 3.6 million users added in March alone. 

"Around 37 percent of the total user base is considered 'active' — a.k.a. people who use the app regularly — and the company says those users spend 440 minutes per month in the app," Tsukayama writes. "It’s the kind of engagement that could look very attractive to companies bent on improving their mapping technology and making real-time social information part of their users’ everyday commutes."

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