Facebook waves good-bye to Waze, opens door for Google

Negotiations apparently fell apart between Facebook and app provider

Facebook is reportedly pulling out of acquisition negotiations with mobile app provider Waze, opening the door for a Google buy.

Citing unnamed sources,All Things D reported today that talks between Facebook and crowd-sourced mapping app Waze fell apart after months of effort. The two companies had reportedly been negotiating a $1 billion deal.

According to All Things D, one reason for the breakdown involved conflict over whether the Israeli-based Waze team would have to move to Facebook's Menlo Park, Calif. headquarters.

Both Facebook and Waze declined to comment.

The Facebook move would make it easier for Google to pursue the company. Reports circulated last week that the two companies were on the brink of a bidding war for Waze.

Industry analysts have been split on whether Google threw its hat into the ring because it wants to add the traffic app to its portfolio or simply hoped to drive up the price for Facebook.

"I think this makes Google a much more likely candidate to get Waze," said Ezra Gottheil, an analyst with Technology Business Research. "I think Waze, with its crowd-sourced information, could complement Google's map assets.... Precise location information is immensely valuable. And the real-time data and potential interactions among users is a plus."

Waze offers a traffic and navigation app for Apple and the Android platform. It's designed to let users share real-time traffic information, including updates about construction, traffic jams, speed traps and accidents.

Waze lets Facebook users track friends who are driving to the same destination. "Coordinate everyone's arrival times when you pick up or meet up with friends," Waze says on its website. Users can also share information about local gas prices, and direct Waze users to stations with the lowest prices.

This article, Facebook waves good-bye to Waze talks, opens door for Google, was originally published at Computerworld.com.

Sharon Gaudin covers the Internet and Web 2.0, emerging technologies, and desktop and laptop chips for Computerworld. Follow Sharon on Twitter at  @sgaudin, on Google+ or subscribe to Sharon's RSS feed . Her email address is sgaudin@computerworld.com.

See more by Sharon Gaudin on Computerworld.com.

Copyright © 2013 IDG Communications, Inc.

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