Apple have apparently agreed to buy online transit navigation service HopStop.com, according to people close to the deal. Apple are keen to improve their mapping software after a long series of problems when they shifted focus from Google Maps.
Apple wanted to ‘scale back their relationship with Google’ according to people familiar with the mapping product. Google acted quickly after things went wrong, offering the end user their Google Maps for iOS in December. In the space of those three months the damage was done and the Apple mapping software was considered a joke. Google Maps is the most popular free program in Apple’s App Store and HopStop is in the top 7 of free navigation tools.
The people have asked not to be identified according to BloomBerg. AllThingsD reported that Apple are buying Locationary Inc, a Toronto based company focused on business location maps.
New mapping software that debuted in September last year has been highlighted for many faults, including directing people to the wrong locations and for a lack of public transportation directions. HopStop shows users in more than 500 cities the quickest way to travel by foot, bike, car and subway. Locationary will use real time data from sources to find featured businesses.
Google are not resting on their laurels however, they bought Waze Inc last month. This developer built a mobile application which gets input from around 50 million users to improve directions and display traffic and road hazard details.
Both Apple and Google have been active in buying out smaller companies to improve their mapping software.
Kitguru says: The mapping winner right now is certainly Google, but we wonder if the situation will be the same in 3 years time.