Facebook was last night said to be close to a $1 billion (£650 million) deal to buy an Israeli sat-nav start-up as it seeks to compete with mapping systems from Apple and Google.
Four-year-old Waze uses satellite signals from members’ smartphones to generate maps and traffic data, which it then shares with other users, offering real-time traffic information. It has has 47 million users and has raised $67m from investors.
Due diligence between Waze and Facebook was reportedly under way following talks that began six months ago. There had been reports that Apple was in talks to acquire Waze.
Maps and navigation services have become a key asset for technology companies as consumers increasingly adopt smartphones and mobile devices. In September, Apple replaced its Google Maps app with a service it had created in-house, but drew riticism following a number of embarrassing errors.