Tech

Why Waze? Facebook Follows Apple As The Latest Company To Chase After Social Map App

By Michael Mayday , May 09, 2013 06:22 PM EDT
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Facebook is reportedly in advance talks with the Israeli social mapping and traffic startup Waze. Figures haven't been disclosed, but multiple outlets are reporting Facebook is offering between $800 million to $1 billon for the company. If the deal goes through, it'd grant Facebook access to a map application growing in popularity, its data and access to its users.

Waze, a four-year-old application, uses real-time GPS data and user input in order to update maps, traffic accidents and general driving conditions for other users. Waze's community currently stands at 47 million users.

The deal Facebook is reportedly offering Waze echos the company's 2012 Instagram buy: Waze would maintain a good deal of autonomy, be infused with a large amount of cash, integrate with Facebook services and provide Facebook with access to an advanced mobile map platform.

And that map platform may be the reason why Facebook and Apple have previously expressed interest in purchasing the company. As Mike Issac points out at AllThingsD.com, a solid map application is a valuable element in any mobile ecosystem; it provides data on user location, preferred businesses, destinations and habits, making for better advertisements. Acquiring an already established mapping platform would be a boon to Facebook. 

"Waze, in particular, makes a certain amount of sense for a Facebook buy," Issac writes. "For years, Facebook has yammered on and on about 'social from the ground up' - you can't just build applications and services and the slap a social layer on top, and then just call them social. The network, Facebook argues, doesn't work like that."

This isn't the first deal between Waze and Facebook: the two companies partnered in October of 2012 to allow Facebook users to share their drive with friends, Reuters reports, and both companies have promoted one another during the launch of Facebook Home. If the deal goes through, it'd also help Facebook to flesh-out its mobile offerings, something the company has pushed for some time. 

TechCrunch reports current negotiations between the two companies boils down to whether Waze stays headquartered in Israel or - as Facebook has done with its previous two Israeli acquisitions - if the newly purchased company will relocate to the United States. 

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