or Connect
AppleInsider › Forums › General › General Discussion › Apple purchased Google Maps competitor Placebase - report
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Apple purchased Google Maps competitor Placebase - report

post #1 of 61
Thread Starter 
This summer, Apple quietly purchased the worldwide mapping company Placebase -- one that competed with Google's own Maps product, featured on the iPhone.

Reports of the purchase of Placebase, maker of Pushpin and openplaces.org, first surfaced in July. They were confirmed this week by ComputerWorld, as the company's former CEO, Jaron Waldman, is now allegedly part of the "Geo Team" at Apple. The Cupertino, Calif., company has never confirmed the acquisition.

In 2008, Placebase was profiled by GigaOm. At the time, a new product called PolicyMap was revealed. Using the PushPin API, PolicyMap would aggregate data on subjects such as demographics, home sales, crime, mortgage lending, school performance and more. The company reportedly earned millions of dollars in revenue and survived without any venture capital funding, successfully competing with Google's free Maps.

"Waldman thought differently," the report said. "He decided to compete with Google and other free mapping services by doing two things: One, by offering customizations and tons of features that integrated private and public data sets in many diverse ways. (He knew it would be a while before Google would get around to offering customization). His other twist was to offer a way to layer commercial and other data sets (such as demographics and crime data) onto the maps using an easy-to-use application programming interface (API)."

Weeks ago, when Google publicly revealed the content of its letter to the FCC in response to a government inquiry, it was discovered that Apple allegedly rejected the Google Latitude Application, because Apple believed the software could replicate the native Maps application included with the iPhone -- software also created by Google. Apple said that the new software could "create user confusion" with Google Maps.

In August, Google's CEO, Eric Schmidt, stepped down from the Apple Board of Directors. The two companies were continuing to encroach on each others' businesses, and were under investigation from the Federal Trade Commission for a possible violation of antitrust laws through unfair collaboration.

With the latest acquisition, it would appear that Apple could be building its own Google Maps competitor based on the technology found in PolicyMap from Placebase.
post #2 of 61
i rememeber Google Maps sucked when it first came out and it took them a few years to get it working right
post #3 of 61
Thank goodness for that, I'm quite relieved to hear this news, location info is crucial to so many apps, and would have been very dangerous to leave in the hands of google alone. Especially as apps become increasingly location aware in the future.
post #4 of 61
The reality is that Google is no longer a partner but a direct competitor. A company can not, and should not, rely on a competitor for any service or parts for their key products.

Google's focus is now on Android and the software features for their phones. Apple is now secondary (or worse).

Watch for the replacement of Google Maps on future releases....possibly 4.0 is my guess (June '10). Google Maps will be moved to App Store for anyone to voluntarily download....but it won't be a base App anymore.....and won't be the default Map for other programs to use.
post #5 of 61
No more Google Monopoly over our lives! All Apple has to do is fix their ugly user interface and make it really useful. Placebase has very strong foundation, I can only imagine what Apple can do with it.
Apple had me at scrolling
Reply
Apple had me at scrolling
Reply
post #6 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by noexpectations View Post

The reality is that Google is no longer a partner but a direct competitor. A company can not, and should not, rely on a competitor for any service or parts for their key products.

Google's focus is now on Android and the software features for their phones. Apple is now secondary (or worse).

Watch for the replacement of Google Maps on future releases....possibly 4.0 is my guess (June '10). Google Maps will be moved to App Store for anyone to voluntarily download....but it won't be a base App anymore.....and won't be the default Map for other programs to use.

You want to remove the branding of the most well known mapping software in the world and replace it with an unknown solution as the default on the iPhone?

I hope you realize that every time Apple talks about the maps application, it's not called "Maps", but "Google Maps". And their name is displayed prominently. Trying to remove that from the phone (even if they can download it on the App Store) would throw a TON of people into a fit.

And then you have to somehow argue to me that a start-up company is better than a company who's been working on this for years. I'm not saying it's impossible, just very difficult to prove that point.

if anything, the purchase of this company is probably more about getting more data sources for the Google Maps app than anything else. It's about making their implementation of Google Maps better. I mean, the Google Maps app on the iPhone is nothing special, and uses public APIs. It's not like Google can yank control and deny access or something (they could, but they're not that dumb). I'd say it's more about making sure that the Apple implementation of Google Maps is better than the Android version.
post #7 of 61
I see this less as a replacement for Google Maps and a big improvement for GIS integration into iWork Numbers. It is one area that Excel is weak in and one in which Apple can gain a competitive advantage. It will be Apple's answer to Microsofts MapPoint (which was sold as a separate program, but should have been a part of Excel).

In addition to Numbers, Apple will integrate data maps and provide additional geospatial data integration in the iPhone and MobileMe platforms.

Finally they may provide a separate program for data visualization that would simplify (and be much more cost competitive) than programs such as Tableau (an excellent program but only available for PC's now).
post #8 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by dagamer34 View Post

You want to remove the branding of the most well known mapping software in the world and replace it with an unknown solution as the default on the iPhone?

I hope you realize that every time Apple talks about the maps application, it's not called "Maps", but "Google Maps". And their name is displayed prominently. Trying to remove that from the phone (even if they can download it on the App Store) would throw a TON of people into a fit.

But it is called Maps on the iPhone and iPod touch, not Google Maps. It uses Google Maps as its backend and Google is displayed in the bottom left of the map itself, not in the UI. It would be a pretty transparent change to change the backend. I doubt most would even notice.
post #9 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by dagamer34 View Post

You want to remove the branding of the most well known mapping software in the world and replace it with an unknown solution as the default on the iPhone?

I hope you realize that every time Apple talks about the maps application, it's not called "Maps", but "Google Maps". And their name is displayed prominently. Trying to remove that from the phone (even if they can download it on the App Store) would throw a TON of people into a fit.

I don't know, maybe "Placebase" doesn't have much branding capital going with it but "Apple Maps" sounds like a formidable brand name to me.

The acquisition of Placebase doesn't sound very significant but add to that the fact that Apple is a) building a server mega-farm in the Carolinas and b) about to release a mobile tablet, then it seems pretty likely that Apple is building a much larger walled garden that will compete with the non-search offerings of Google, Yahoo and Windows Live.

The question is whether this will be Apple devices only, Mobile Me only, Mobile me only but no subscription fee, open but with fee, or completely open and no fee. My guess is Apple will try to offer a compelling line up of services and features, including exclusive arrangements with popular entertainment acts, to achieve the holy grail of internet portals --a fee paying mass of subscribers. Failing that, they'll be happy with just being able to sell more mobile devices, as in orders of magnitude more.

Oh man, I'm trying to imagine what that might do to my AAPL holdings.
post #10 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by tundraboy View Post

The acquisition of Placebase doesn't sound very significant but add to that the fact that Apple is a) building a server mega-farm in the Carolinas

Guys I'd hate to curb your enthusiasm a bit. Google uses TeleAtlas as a Map foundation, placebase uses Navteq. None is better then the other one. One belongs to TomTom one belongs to Nokia (that would be Navteq). So the quality of the maps will not improve, the layout might change.

As to the data contained in openplaces : OMG it is so US centric again. Just did a search on Hotels in Liverpool (UK) and the hotels "it" came up with - frankly don't go there. Hotels on Brussels are a bit better - but funny enough => openplaces uses Google Maps LOL

And whether its Apple or Google that can control my every move and profile - is there something I can do against it ? No.
post #11 of 61
It sounds like Apple and google are headed towards a nasty separation.
post #12 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by noexpectations View Post

The reality is that Google is no longer a partner but a direct competitor.

When Steve Jobs and Bill Gates were interviewed together at the D5 Conference, Jobs said that in the past Apple wasn't good at partnering with others and wanted to do "the whole banana."

Is this another step in returning to the old way of thinking? All the stuff with Intel and nVidia and the chips.

Too bad the only partnership going strong with Apple is AT&T.
post #13 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jerseymac View Post

When Steve Jobs and Bill Gates were interviewed together at the D5 Conference, Jobs said that in the past Apple wasn't good at partnering with others and wanted to do "the whole banana."

Is this another step in returning to the old way of thinking? All the stuff with Intel and nVidia and the chips.

Too bad the only partnership going strong with Apple is AT&T.

Yeah I remember that. Jobs even said that's a quality of Microsoft that he wished Apple had (being able to work well with others.)

Even the AT&T partnership is better for Apple than AT&T, or at least that's the impression I get. If someone doesn't buy into the expensive stuff like the text messaging then AT&T turns a thin profit.
post #14 of 61
Companies are surprisingly slow to realize how big location services will be. It's like Microsoft snoozing through the Internet uptake all over again.
Emailing video from iPhone to Apple TV , sort of..
Reply
Emailing video from iPhone to Apple TV , sort of..
Reply
post #15 of 61
What is an application for which a tablet would be extremely well suited? Viewing and following maps, of course! SatNavs are all very well, but there is also a place for a larger format map which could have much more information on it than any SatNav could manage.

One angle that I particularly like is the provision of information about venues of all types - hotels, restaurants, pubs, destinations such as stately homes, National trust properties etc. When you couple the map with detailed information such as you can get in Google Earth, some of it maybe provided after a micro-payment, and provide the ability to make bookings (incorporating a fee to Apple, of course!), you can start to see the potential...
The truth is behind you
Reply
The truth is behind you
Reply
post #16 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by BenRoethig View Post

It sounds like Apple and google are headed towards a nasty separation.

I hope not. Hope they will me mature about it all. I like Google and don't want them to become the new MS in Apple fans' eyes. By the way - check out Bing maps. I haven't used it much so I am not sure how robust it is but the maps are fantastic. You can flip them around to view from different angles. Very cool.
post #17 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by dagamer34 View Post

And then you have to somehow argue to me that a start-up company is better than a company who's been working on this for years. I'm not saying it's impossible, just very difficult to prove that point.

Apple's done pretty well in the past in identifying companies with a small jewel of technology, buying them, rebranding and refining the technology, and putting together a killer app. A little application called iTunes comes to mind as one example. You may have heard of it.

Granted, iTunes wasn't going against anything like Google, but just like Apple used the iPod to make iTunes popular, they can use the iPhone to make their mapping service common place, too.
post #18 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

This summer, Apple quietly purchased the worldwide mapping company Placebase -- one that competed with Google's own Maps product, featured on the iPhone. ...

This purchase makes a lot of sense, but I can't help but wish they would spend a few bucks on acquiring a company that makes a decent integrated contacts/calendars product for iPhone before they spend their time on fancy map options for enterprise users.
post #19 of 61
Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo
--SHEFFmachine out
Da Bears!
Reply
--SHEFFmachine out
Da Bears!
Reply
post #20 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jerseymac View Post

When Steve Jobs and Bill Gates were interviewed together at the D5 Conference, Jobs said that in the past Apple wasn't good at partnering with others and wanted to do "the whole banana."

Is this another step in returning to the old way of thinking? All the stuff with Intel and nVidia and the chips.

Too bad the only partnership going strong with Apple is AT&T.

Microsoft is a pure software company (okay outside of the failures called Zune and Xbox*) who has no choice but to partner with device manufacturers.

Apple has expertise in both hardware and software.

Even if Apple strives to be the perfect partner, they will never have as wide and many partnerships as Microsoft. That's not the way to judge how well Apple is doing on the 'partnering' department. The question is, is Apple able to develop long term stable partnerships that are contributing to its bottom line?

So far the answer seems to be a qualified yes. Aside from AT&T, I'd say the Intel partnership is pretty strong. Apple is not about to abandon X86 and Intel is not about to kick Apple out. And I'll take Light Peak as evidence of a pretty good working relationship. Other key partnerships are with Samsung and Toshiba(?) for the supply of ARM chips and flash memory. Apple would not acquire a fab-less chip house if they cannot build a stable partnership with a reliable and trustworthy chip fab house. Finally, there are those thousands of partnerships with all the iPhone App developers. Here, it's easy to see how Apple is doing. Are they losing developers or not?


*Xbox cannot be considered a success until it starts making consistent profits and recoups the billions upon billions of dollars that MS has sunk in it.
post #21 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by paxman View Post

I like Google and don't want them to become the new MS in Apple fans' eyes.

Google already is the new Microsoft, but more dangerous because they are actually competent.

I'd be quite happy to have Apple Maps replace Google on the iPhone.


BTW, I'm in an opthamologist's office and they are using a glossy 20" iMac for vision tests.
post #22 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by chronster View Post

Yeah I remember that. Jobs even said that's a quality of Microsoft that he wished Apple had (being able to work well with others.)

Even the AT&T partnership is better for Apple than AT&T, or at least that's the impression I get. If someone doesn't buy into the expensive stuff like the text messaging then AT&T turns a thin profit.

Yes, but everyone Apple partners with turns out to be either incompetent, a backstabbing band of thieves, or even both! (M$)

I'm all for Apple start getting independent.

iPhone 4S 64GB, Black, soon to be sold in favor of a Nokia Lumia 920
Early 2010 MacBook Pro 2.4GHz, soon to be replaced with a Retina MacBook Pro, or an Asus U500

Reply

iPhone 4S 64GB, Black, soon to be sold in favor of a Nokia Lumia 920
Early 2010 MacBook Pro 2.4GHz, soon to be replaced with a Retina MacBook Pro, or an Asus U500

Reply
post #23 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by al_bundy View Post

i rememeber Google Maps sucked when it first came out and it took them a few years to get it working right

It still sucks, IMO. The interface is infuriating, and even more so when you consider how much functionality is being wasted because Google can't be bothered to get it right. That said, I don't think Apple is going to compete directly with Google in online mapping. For one thing, they don't have the street view images. They must have some other ideas for how to use this tech.
Please don't be insane.
Reply
Please don't be insane.
Reply
post #24 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr Millmoss View Post

It still sucks, IMO. ...

For one thing, they don't have the street view images. They must have some other ideas for how to use this tech.

Yeah and that feature uses Flash

They probably have a long term contract on the iPhone Maps app so unless Apple wants to pay Google to sit on the bench, we will have that same Maps app for awhile.

Life is too short to drink bad coffee.

Reply

Life is too short to drink bad coffee.

Reply
post #25 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by iVlad View Post

No more Google Monopoly over our lives! All Apple has to do is fix their ugly user interface and make it really useful. Placebase has very strong foundation, I can only imagine what Apple can do with it.

If I had to choose between a Google Monopoly or an Apple Monopoly I would choose Google every time.

Here is a great quote from C.S. Lewis that I think describes Apple perfectly:
"Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience."

OK, so that may be a bit harsh but it does describe Apple's M.O. They limit choices and features for their users' "own good". Sometimes, to a ridiculous extent.

-kpluck

Do you use MagicJack?

The default settings will automatically charge your credit card each year for service renewal. You will not be notified or warned in anyway. You can turn auto renewal off.

Reply

Do you use MagicJack?

The default settings will automatically charge your credit card each year for service renewal. You will not be notified or warned in anyway. You can turn auto renewal off.

Reply
post #26 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by dagamer34 View Post

You want to remove the branding of the most well known mapping software in the world and replace it with an unknown solution as the default on the iPhone?

I would hope so! Maps on iPhone has to be the worst bundled app of all time. Atleast for Apples standards it is. Terrible user interface and lots of bugs. Apple most likely could higher a programmer from junior high and get a better product.

Quote:

I hope you realize that every time Apple talks about the maps application, it's not called "Maps", but "Google Maps". And their name is displayed prominently. Trying to remove that from the phone (even if they can download it on the App Store) would throw a TON of people into a fit.

I really doubt that due to the quality issues. Further it is a web app and not a native app so vast improvements could be had with a focused development effort. Lastly Google maps wIll not scale well on other platforms running IPhone OS. The app needs a major update even if it remained tied to Google.
Quote:

And then you have to somehow argue to me that a start-up company is better than a company who's been working on this for years. I'm not saying it's impossible, just very difficult to prove that point.

Who Google? They haven't put much effort into it at all. Plus you are severly discounting just how innovative startups can be. If you can't recognize the viability of startups then really you are to far gone for me to prove anything to you.
Quote:

if anything, the purchase of this company is probably more about getting more data sources for the Google Maps app than anything else. It's about making their implementation of Google Maps better. I mean, the Google Maps app on the iPhone is nothing special, and uses public APIs. It's not like Google can yank control and deny access or something (they could, but they're not that dumb). I'd say it's more about making sure that the Apple implementation of Google Maps is better than the Android version.

You think? It isn't about a better Google Maps it is about being free to develop your product in competetive ways.




Dave
post #27 of 61
Wasn't the Google MAPS app on the iPhone made my Apple devs.
Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
Reply
Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
Reply
post #28 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by BenRoethig View Post

It sounds like Apple and google are headed towards a nasty separation.

I don't buy that.
Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
Reply
Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
Reply
post #29 of 61
Agreed, this is all about the Tablet.

Apple want to figure out your location to put you at the specific started point in the current book you've selected - based on cultural persuasion!

Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
Reply
Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
Reply
post #30 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ireland View Post

Wasn't the Google MAPS app on the iPhone made my Apple devs.

Yes. But I think this will benefit developers the most. Apple might be have licensing issues with Google Maps, remember that developers need to use their own maps if they want to build a turn by turn GPS app.
post #31 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr Millmoss View Post

It still sucks, IMO. The interface is infuriating, and even more so when you consider how much functionality is being wasted because Google can't be bothered to get it right. That said, I don't think Apple is going to compete directly with Google in online mapping. For one thing, they don't have the street view images. They must have some other ideas for how to use this tech.

Explain to me the value of Street Views for mapping software? I really don't get that one. One of the big issues is that much of Street View is non static, so unless Google wants to drive those silly cars around forever it isn't very useful.

Not to mention many people see it as an invasion of privacy on a grand scale. Apple could gain points just by taking a public position that they won't engage in privacy invasion with their solution. The fact that something is legal, to some extent or other, does not imply that people like it.

In anyevent the whole point of such apps is to find things and places of interest. The successful app will be the one that does this reliable while covering the widest array of interests. Apple has a very good chance of doing this very well.



Dave
post #32 of 61
Maps or not what I really find funny here is that Apple bought out this entire company like four months ago and nobody seemed to notice. Especially the rumor sites of which I visit many.

Steveo must be laughing up a storm right now and be extreme happy to have pulled this off without creating a stir. Really impressive of Apple to pull this off for so long.


Dave
post #33 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

Explain to me the value of Street Views for mapping software? I really don't get that one. One of the big issues is that much of Street View is non static, so unless Google wants to drive those silly cars around forever it isn't very useful.

Not useful to you perhaps, but extremely useful to me -- but then I deal with buildings for a living, so it saves me many a trip into the field. All of the data has freshness issues. In fact one of the big problems is that they don't provide the date of the satellite photos. This is known I presume, they just don't bother telling us. They don't seem to be updated very frequently either.

The "privacy" issues are bogus. All of these photos are taken from public streets where nobody could have any reasonable expectations of privacy.
Please don't be insane.
Reply
Please don't be insane.
Reply
post #34 of 61
The API for the new Maps will allow developers around the world to create customizations to it with various layers and other data for download from the App Store This is much better for the iPhone. The possibilities are endless. http://www.pushpin.com/api/1.3/docs/
2011 13" 2.3 MBP, 2006 15" 2.16 MBP, iPhone 4, iPod Shuffle, AEBS, AppleTV2 with XBMC.
Reply
2011 13" 2.3 MBP, 2006 15" 2.16 MBP, iPhone 4, iPod Shuffle, AEBS, AppleTV2 with XBMC.
Reply
post #35 of 61
The best thing Apple can do with this company is to package their API in their iPhone SDK and let developers have at it.
post #36 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by walshbj View Post

Companies are surprisingly slow to realize how big location services will be.

I'm still waiting for Apple to include Lat/Lon fields in Address Book. How is that not an increasingly important piece of information for anyone with a GPS (such as, say, in their fancy touch-screen mobile phone) who wants to navigate to a location without having to enter the full address first?
post #37 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by dagamer34 View Post

I hope you realize that every time Apple talks about the maps application, it's not called "Maps", but "Google Maps". And their name is displayed prominently. Trying to remove that from the phone (even if they can download it on the App Store) would throw a TON of people into a fit.

I'm personally a little surprised to see how people are reacting to this. Google Maps is a great application/platform and I don't have reason to believe that Google would try to backstab Apple—so I don't really see why some of this Google hostility is starting to brew—but I'm also optimistic about where Apple could go with this acquisition.

It is interesting to see your alternative perspective in support of Google, but I think you're strongly overestimating Apple's position here. The 'TON' of people out there is Apple's demographic, and that is not represented here much at all. That 'TON' of people, if they are even familiar with Google Maps, will automatically assume that any map application that offers similar functionality is Google Maps. The rest don't know, and don't care—they just want a maps application.

The people who do know Google Maps and understand its importance—the sort of folks we have here—are not a comparatively large group of Apple's demographic, and we don't really offer opposition either. We're not going to rebel just because Apple abandoned Google (in this scenario). We're going to scrutinize Apple's replacement app to see if it offers more or less than what they were able to offer with Google. If they offer more, we'll be thrilled. If they offer less, we'll be critical, but it won't have anything to do with branding. It will be about features.
The true measure of a man is how he treats someone that can do him absolutely no good.
  Samuel Johnson
Reply
The true measure of a man is how he treats someone that can do him absolutely no good.
  Samuel Johnson
Reply
post #38 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jingo View Post

What is an application for which a tablet would be extremely well suited? Viewing and following maps, of course! SatNavs are all very well, but there is also a place for a larger format map which could have much more information on it than any SatNav could manage.

In Apple's home state of California, it would be illegal just to have a tablet computer located anywhere in the front seating area--turned on or turned off--let alone to be using it.
post #39 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by Foo2 View Post

In Apple's home state of California, it would be illegal just to have a tablet computer located anywhere in the front seating area--turned on or turned off--let alone to be using it.

Citation for this claim, please.
Please don't be insane.
Reply
Please don't be insane.
Reply
post #40 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr Millmoss View Post

The "privacy" issues are bogus. All of these photos are taken from public streets where nobody could have any reasonable expectations of privacy.

Several European countries disagree with you. Even in the U.S., I think there's a reasonable expectation that a large company won't put your picture on the internet for profit without permission. (The law may or may not agree with me but that doesn't mean people still don't have that expectation.) There's absolutely no reason they can't "scrub" faces, they just don't want to invest the resources in doing it. Not that Google has ever had much consideration for privacy, or the law.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: General Discussion
AppleInsider › Forums › General › General Discussion › Apple purchased Google Maps competitor Placebase - report