The Wall Street Journal reports that Apple has recently acquired indoor location company WifiSLAM for $20 million.
WSJ reports that Apple has confirmed the acquisition, but has declined to discuss its plans.
The two-year-old startup has developed ways for mobile apps to detect a phone user’s location in a building using Wi-Fi signals. It has been offering the technology to application developers for indoor mapping and new types of retail and social networking apps. The company has a handful of employees, and its co-founders include former Google software engineering intern Joseph Huang.
The company was co-founded by former Google software engineering intern Joseph Huang and Jessica Tsoong and has a handful of employees.
Google already offers indoor maps in shopping malls, airports and train stations in several cities in Google Maps for Android. The feature provides detailed floor plans when you’re viewing the map and zoomed-in on a building where indoor map data is available. When you move up or down a level in a building with multiple floors, the map will automatically update to display which floor you’re on. We expect Google to bring this feature to the iPhone very soon.
So it makes sense for Apple to buy the company to add this feature to its Maps app. It remains to be seen when Apple will be able to bring this feature to iOS.
I managed to find a video, which shows WifiSLAM at work (from the 23rd to the 26th minute), so check it out and let me know what you think in the comments below: