In a bid to improve its mapping tools, the California-based Apple Inc has acquired an online navigation start up HopStop.com, according to media reports. This is the second acquisition by Apple this month, the first being the crowdsourced location data start-up Locationary, to work on its map woes.
HopStop is a mass transit navigation app that gets details of subway, train, taxi and even walking directions as well as transit maps for stations with their schedules. HopStop has two million monthly active users through its free app for Android and Apple.
Locationary is a sort of app that locates business listings though crowdsourcing data. This wonder app collects, merges and verifies huge amounts of data on local business and interesting spots to visit. And not just the location, Locationary also verifies whether the business listing is open at a specific moment.
Apple made a rocky debut last year for its home-made mapping service with users worldwide criticising the software. It led to an apology from Apple CEO Tim Cook and he announced, "We're putting all of our energy into making it right."
Both these acquisitions, for which Apple confirmed to AllThingsD, could go a long way in improving Apple maps.
When founded in 2007, Apple's iPhone received criticisms, one of them being that it lacked a transit navigation feature.
On the other hand, Google has been successful with its mapping tools. Last month, Google acquired the navigation app Waze for a mammoth amount of $1.3 billion. Moreover it introduced new and improved versions of Google maps last week, both for Android and Apple.
Interestingly, the mobile transit app HopStop redesigned its iPhone app in April and added a feature similar to Waze. HopStop started giving real-time updates about traffic delays reported by its users, like 'wazers' in the Waze community.
The map wars are surely not going to end here as a lot of small startups offer acquisition deals to chief mobile companies.
"Amazon is the one that would be interested, and Samsung too would be interested. Samsung aspires to build beyond the handset in to the mobile operating system. And maps and location ability to translate that into a mobile experience is sort of a core functionality of it," Prioleau Advisors founder Marc Prioleau told Bloomberg tv.