Google and Facebook battle for road to riches

The new mobile navigation app, Waze, has a $1-billion price tag. Let the bidding begin.

Google may have the most popular mapping service around, but a mobile navigation app with a $1-billion price tag has caught the Internet giant’s eye. Waze is a free GPS service that allows its 40 million users to share real-time information about traffic, gas prices and road conditions; maps are constantly updated based on submissions. Logging on through Facebook, subscribers can also coordinate trips with friends on the same route.

Google is reportedly looking to acquire the California-based start-up, sparking a bidding war with rival Facebook, according to Bloomberg. Some analysts say Google doesn’t need Waze, and that its interest in the company is an attempt to stall a deal with Facebook and drive up the already hefty price.

That’s bad news for the social media behemoth, which currently offers no real-time mapping features, an important part of any mobile strategy. But for Waze, which is entertaining several big-money offers, the road to success looks sure to be a smooth one.