Looks like the alarm bells have started ringing at Apple following the tremendous debut Google Maps made on the iOS App Store. Apple is said to be in talks with social network Foursquare to integrate user data into Apple's map app.
Apple’s Senior Vice President Eddy Cue is said to have been meeting with Foursquare representatives over the past few weeks to determine how the social network uses data to find locations and business listings. According to the Wall Street Journal, this is the latest sign of Apple's plans to integrate local services more tightly into the iPhone and iPad. The discussions with New York-based Foursquare come as Apple has been talking to a number of companies that collect local data to improve its new mapping product.
Foursquare could soon be sharing maps data with Apple
Apple replaced Google’s mapping solution in favour of its own Maps app on iOS 6 in September, but the app turned out to be quite buggy and showed erroneous data such as incorrect city names, warped streets and lot of missing information. This was especially true for places outside the U.S. The resulting criticism was so vehement and widespread that CEO Tim Cook publicly issued an apology to Apple users following the software's launch.
Apple is working to be independent of Google on all fronts, and abandoning Google Maps for its own solution is one of the major moves the company has made. Earlier, Apple was dependent on data from Google to point out nearby establishments. But Apple now seems to be building its own local search listings to incorporate into products like Maps and Siri. This is said to be more strategic as users get information directly, bypassing search services like Google. The move to get Foursquare into the fold seems to be a move further in that direction.
“Apple is already joining with Yelp Inc and other data providers for local reviews and listings. Apple said this summer that it had collected more than 100 million business listings around the world,” said the WSJ article.
This deal, however, would boost Foursquare’s prospects in developing further as a brand. Despite more localised listings than Facebook and coming up with unprecedented features like ‘check-in’ before any other social network, Foursquare’s following seems to be lagging somewhere. “Foursquare's business hasn't grown as fast as some investors had hoped. The company claims more than 25 million registered users, but only about eight million of them use the app at least once a month,” says the report.
Foursquare recently gave facelifts to its website and app, making it more open to members and non-members alike. The social network has started allowing non-members to search for information on the app without needing to sign-up. In the scenario the deal goes through, user generated tips and popularity ratings borrowed from Foursquare could be the main differentiating factor between Google and Apple.
The deal seems to be a win-win situation for both Apple and Foursquare, and if it materialises, it could end up giving a tough competition to Google.