updated 03:59 pm EDT, Fri June 6, 2014
Could improve Maps searches for local businesses, attractions
Apple has bought out a technology firm called Spotsetter, reports say. The latter company is responsible for a now-defunct search engine that recommended businesses and attractions based on data culled from social networks such as Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare, and Instagram. That data was paired with information hosted by services like Yelp, Michelin, and Zagat.
Spotsetter was founded in 2012 by ex-Google Maps engineer Stephen Tse, and Johnny Lee, both of whom are now listed as working at Apple on their LinkedIn profiles. The buyout is said to have been partially motivated by acquiring that talent. Some other team members have joined as well however, and Apple is reportedly interested in Spotsetter's technology. It will likely be integrated into Maps for iOS and OS X, making it easier to find worthwhile points of interest.
In summer 2013 Spotsetter claimed to have 5 million user profiles and 40 million listed venues, but it shut down six days ago without explanation. The firm is said to have been in negotiations with Apple for a while, but quickly reached a deal last week when other companies learned of the talks and became interested themselves.