AllThingsD reports that Apple has acquired crowdsourced location data company Locationary.
The report notes that Apple acquired the Toronto-based startup recently, though the price of the acquisition is not yet know.
AllThingsD reports that Apple has confirmed the acquisition:
Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans.
AllThingsD has a nice explanation of what Locationary did:
Locationary is a sort of Wikipedia for local business listings. It uses crowdsourcing and a federated data exchange platform called Saturn to collect, merge and continuously verify a massive database of information on local businesses around the world, solving one of location’s biggest problems: out-of-date information.
Not only does Locationary ensure that business listing data is positionally accurate (IE: the restaurant I searched for is where Apple said it would be), it ensures that it is temporally accurate as well (IE: the restaurant I searched for is still open for business and not closed for renovation or shuttered entirely).
As you may have guessed, Apple could use Locationary updated location data to improve its Maps app, which could be a key differentiator.
When Apple launched its own Maps app to replace the one powered by Google Maps data, users complained about the accuracy of its point-of-interest data. Interestingly, Grant Ritchie, the CEO of Locationary had written an article on TechCrunch, which explained the five challenges Apple faces to improve its mapping service.
A smart way to get noticed. Locationary could be the quick fix that Apple has been looking for to improve its Maps app, and compete with Google Maps.