Rumor has it Google is looking to spend big on mapping.
Last we heard, Facebook was thinking of buying GPS service Waze. Back in early may, word got out that the social networking giant was in talks to acquire Israeli start-up Waze Mobile for $800 million to $1 billion. Before that, Apple was rumored to be considering Waze for acquisition. In December of 2012, word on the street was that Apple could acquire Waze but these rumors were later branded completely fabricated. Now, it seems it's Google's turn for some Waze-related chatter.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Google is in talks to purchase Waze for over a billion dollars. The Journal cites a person familiar with the negotiations that says Google is looking to acquire Waze to boost its already strong position in the mapping market. Developed by Waze Mobile, the highly-popular Waze social GPS app features turn-by-turn navigation and is available on Android, iPhone, Symbian, Windows Mobile and BlackBerry. It recently won the Best Overall Mobile App award at Mobile World Congress 2013, is completely free and boasts nearly 50 million users. Waze uses satellite signals from users' smartphones to generate maps and traffic data, offering community-edited maps, traffic jams, road hazards, accidents and even speed traps – all supplied by other drivers in real time. The free service also helps users find the cheapest, closest gas stations near their current location whether it's at home or out-of-town.
The Wall Street Journal says the Google acquisition deal could be announced as early as this week and that Waze would remain a standalone application. WSJ sources say the app's most valuable data could be integrated with Google Maps. No word from Google or Waze on the accuracy of the report but we'll keep you posted on any news of the deal.