Everyone is looking for a way to incorporate personalized, local results into their location services. The new Google Maps for iOS features ratings, price, location, hours, and photo information for hundreds of thousands of businesses. Facebook just launched a huge redesign of it “Nearby” feature that turns it into a true location recommendation tool. Facebook is a new but potentially huge player in local search, considering the trove of user data they have already amassed and the amount coming in new every day.
But don’t think that Apple is going to sit back and watch Google and Facebook dominate the local search game. Just because their Maps product was initially cast aside by early users and frankly embarrassed by Google’s product, it doesn’t mean they are going to throw in the towel on the whole project.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Apple is in preliminary talks with Foursquare to acquire their location data, in order to incorporate it into Apple Maps.
Foursquare, which has been around for over three years, boasts over 3 billion total check-ins and millions of tips for local businesses all across the world.
Although Apple has seen its share of criticism for rushing out an not-ready-for-primetime maps app (most of it rightfully earned), the app does have some things going for it. First, it’s pretty – there’s no denying that. Second, it’s the default maps app integrated into the OS. No matter how good a third-party maps app is, some people will struggle to venture outside the walls. Lastly, Apple has been fixing a lot of the more-egregious errors inside Apple Maps – misplaced landmarks, terrible directions, roads that aren’t there, etc.
Adding Foursquare location data to Apple Maps could be a very smart move for the company, who has and will continue to have the task of convincing people to stay/come back to their product. Saying that you can deliver top-notch personalized local results is a step in the right direction.
And for Foursquare, it would give them more exposure. We recently learned that the company will only generate about $2 million in revenue this year. Partnering with Apple may give them the reach that they’ve needed for awhile now.