Facebook Inc (FB): Where There’s a Will, There’s a Waze?

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Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) is always looking for ways to be more social and to be more embedded and integrated into our digital society. Whether it’s the apparently ill-fated concept of Facebook Home – as displayed by the price-slashing on the concept’s flagship handset after only a month on the shelves – or buying up one of the more socially savvy applications  available on smartphones, Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) is consistently eyeing opportunities to be in your digital life as much as possible – and make lots of money on advertising revenue  in exchange.

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) had an opportunity to become more socially savvy – and perhaps improve its dreaded mapping application to compete with Google Maps – when it went into discussions with Israel-based crowdsourced app Waze late last year (which we reported on as if it was a done deal). For some reason, however, those talks fell through though Apple had reportedly offered a price tag of $400 million for a company that received $67 million in investor assistance. Yes, we bought in that it was a done deal After all, this is Apple we’re talking about; it doesn’t usually miss when it wants something.

But as discussions with Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) stalled out, Waze quickly had another suitor – and which would be better than a firm that is already socially engaged but could use a spark of activity among loyal users? Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) quickly moved in and before long, the price tag has reportedly gone up to somewhere between $800 million and $1 billion.

Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB)And apparently the only hangup on this deal is that Waze was built in and remains in Israel; the company wants to keep most of its staff there, while Facebook usually integrates  its acquisitions into its offices in California, New York of the U.K. Waze executives have said they are fiercely loyal to their homeland and insist it won’t leave.

But perhaps that was before a cool billion was placed in front of them. Will location be a deal-breaker?

What is the big deal with Waze? Why is Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) so interested in it? Waze is a crowdsourced mapping application, which means it gathers much of its mapping, traffic and navigation information from its very active social network of nearly 50 million users.

The users can supply information to the app either through GPS or through the social network – providing information about road closures, detours, heavy traffic, even where traffic patrol cops are located. For Facebook, this could not only mean more engagement with the social network through the app, but also may help Facebook  integrate local advertising better – an area where Facebook seems to be finding headwinds.

What do you think of this possible acquisition? Do you see other ways that this might help Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB)? And what might this mean for Waze going forward? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.

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