When Apple launched its own self-branded mapping service nearly one year ago, the ill-fated app met with widespread criticism. Now, in what seems to be an effort to beef up their location-based services, the Cupertino company has acquired Canadian startup Locationary.
Backed by Extreme Ventures Partners and Plazacorp Ventures, Locationary provides data and information about local businesses. It uses crowdsourcing and a data exchange platform known as Saturn to collect and verify an extensive database of local businesses around the world.
The deal, which reportedly closed recently according to AllThingsD, includes both Locationary’s technology and its team.
“Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans,” Apple spokesman Steve Dowling said according to the publication.
Although Apple won’t discuss its plans, the intention behind the acquisition is fairly obvious. The failed launch of Apple Maps last September provoked CEO Tim Cook to issue a rare public apology.
“We are extremely sorry for the frustration this has caused our customers and we are doing everything we can to make Maps better,” he wrote in September.
Cook promised that Apple is working to improve Maps, and the acquisition of Locationary could prove to be a major push in a new direction. Data from the startup could serve to separate Apple Maps from its competitors, since it uses crowdsourced information to keep its info fresh in a Wikipedia-style approach rather than a standard Yellow Pages-esque directory.