waze

Whatever the folks over at Waze are doing, they must be doing it right. Earlier this month, we heard that Facebook was looking to acquire the Palo Alto-based startup and its popular crowd-sourced navigation app for a cool $1 billion.

But as it turns out, they’re not the only ones interested. According to a new report, a number of tech companies have approached the Waze team over a possible buyout deal, including Google, meaning a bidding war could be afoot…

Bloomberg has the scoop:

“Google Inc. (GOOG), maker of the Android operating system, is considering buying map-software provider Waze Inc., setting up a possible bidding war with Facebook Inc., people familiar with the matter said.

Waze is fielding expressions of interest from multiple parties and is seeking more than $1 billion, said one of the people, who asked not to be identified because the talks are private. The Palo Alto, California-based startup might also remain independent, instead seeking to raise a round of venture capital financing, the people said.”

The report says that Waze is fielding offers in the $1 billion range, but no one would be surprised to see the price skyrocket. Maps are becoming a major battleground for tech companies, and both Facebook and Google have deep pockets.

And it’s not hard to see why these guys are interested. Waze claims that it has over 30 million users actively reporting traffic updates, newly discovered shortcut routes, and other useful details that it says can help commuters “outsmart traffic.”

Facebook could really use the actual map data, as it continues to try and build things beyond its social network. Google, on the other hand, could use the crowdsourcing tech. And either side would benefit from keeping it out of the others’ hands.

Oddly enough, Apple was at one time also rumored to be considering a Waze buyout, but Bloomberg says it has not been a part of these recent talks. As many of you know, Apple uses some of Waze’s mapping data in its own iOS Maps app.

So as you can see, the ramifications here could be huge. It’ll certainly be interesting to see how this all plays out.

What do you make of all of this?