Google, maker of the Android operating system, is considering buying map-software provider Waze, setting up a possible bidding war with Facebook, 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, Calif.-based startup might also remain independent, instead seeking to raise a round of venture capital financing, the people said.
As consumers gravitate toward mobile devices away from laptops and desktops, Facebook, Google and other companies are beefing up efforts to court customers on the go. The potential bidding tussle for Waze, which uses information from online communities to improve driving directions, reflects the widening importance of maps on smartphones and other handheld gadgets. Waze, a free service, generates revenue via location-based advertising. Its tools are also available over the Web.
Facebook has held talks to buy Waze for as much as $1 billion, two people familiar with the matter said earlier this month.