Google joins Facebook in bidding war for map service Waze

GPS mapping app Waze may find itself in the middle of a bidding war between two tech behemoths, with reports suggesting that Google will rival Facebook’s bid to acquire the company.

Earlier in May it emerged that Mark Zuckerberg’s firm was lining up a $1 billion buyout of Waze, with due diligence proceedings already at an advanced stage according to certain media sources. But if revelations from Bloomberg are to be believed, the deal is far from done, and Google may be about to enter the fray with an offer of its own.

“People familiar with the matter” told the news agency that Waze has been fielding interest from “multiple parties” including Google since the Facebook link became public, and the Israeli startup is holding out for at least the $1 billion (£643.3m) fee previously mooted.

The flurry of interest in the company may see both Facebook and Google both miss out on a full acquisition, however, with Bloomberg's sources suggesting Waze is also considering staying independent and inviting a round of venture capital investment.

None of the parties involved have commented on the speculation, which comes as little surprise given how the original leak of Facebook’s interest could well scupper a deal for the social network.

The courting of Waze demonstrates the current focus on mobile investment at the highest level of the industry, as tech’s biggest players look to bolster their software portfolio outside of PC and desktop.

As for the Waze app itself, “it offers a fine, free GPS navigation solution, and with its heavy emphasis on crowdsourcing, it even offers some features that top brand names in navigation currently lack,” says our review of Waze on iPhone.

“The app has a bit of a revolutionary feel to it, thanks to its enthusiastic community of users, and also thanks to the fact that it's free. If that appeals to you, by all means download Waze and give it a go. It gives Google Maps a good run for its money, so to speak, although Waze falls behind in terms of Google’s superior voice prompts and better overall stability,” we concluded.