Apple’s most pressing issue with its iOS 6 maps solution is data, and according to The WSJ, the Cupertino company is looking to bolster their own data (which was licensed/taken from various other sources) with Foursquare, the social check-in app.
Foursquare focuses around allowing its users to check in to a physical location. These check-ins are then quantified, and used to form a pseudo-competitive landscape where users compete for badges and titles. It’s an example of gamification at its greatest, as Foursquare is really a brilliant ploy to gain location information about its users, and then use that information to attract advertisers. Still, it’s obvious that Foursquare has a figurative treasure chest of location information, which is something that Apple is desperately in need of.
With Apple’s relatively unlimited financial backing, it seems likely that a deal will be reached, given that Foursquare’s location data is truly as useful as it has been made out to be. Apple iOS 6 maps solution has two major weaknesses. First is Apple’s apparent inability to weave data from different sources together. Apple used information from dozens of sources in order to create the maps, and there have been various errors pointed out by users across the globe that stem from this issue.
The second is something that could, potentially, be solved by this. Google employs people to literally scout out locations, photograph them, and confirm the data’s validity – hence the “Google car.” Apple seems unwilling to utilize such a brute force method, and so its program has suffered. However, by using crowd-sourced information such as Foursquare provides, Apple may be able to overcome the gap between what it offers and what Google Maps offers.
The deal is still in “preliminary talks,” so nothing is certain. However, such a deal makes sense.