As Google ramps up the pressure in the mapping app space with a new version of its Maps app for iOS devices, Apple is still on the back foot, acquiring to add more relevant data to its offering.
Which Maps App Gets Your 'X'?
Just days after the launch of Google Maps 2.0 for iOS devices, that added iPad support, better travel and traffic information plus improved indoor coverage, Apple has made a statement that it won't let its own maps offering linger by picking up local information and validation service Locationary.
The Canadian company uses a massive federated database, called "Saturn" with crowd-sourced information and other sources to build a listing to check that local information for businesses, restaurants, events and so on are current, valid and still in business.
Apple will likely tie that database into its maps app to increase the validity of results, as it struggles to convince users that its own Maps app is different enough to be worth sticking with. With Nokia's own Maps app having failed to spark on iOS and the division losing Nokia money, it looks like Apple and Google will be battling it out on the Apple platform.
Saturn provides existing clients with a clean source for local business data
Finding Data for When and Where?
With a more accurate database to call on Apple could claim that its service is "better", but it could well take more than that to get users used to the Google way, to change their choice of app, especially as Google's own data sources are rarely badly off.
With Apple likely preparing a big update for its own Maps app in iOS 7, which is currently in its third beta, it could be a squeeze to fit this new feature into the dataset, but if Apple and Locationary have been in discussion for sometime then they could have a turn-key solution, ready to go.
No word on what will happen to the service for existing users, or the price of the deal, which Apple rarely discloses. We'll update if there's further news, but for now expect the Locationary team and product to vanish into the Apple mothership.