Could Apple Maps improve by purchasing turn-by-turn navigation company Waze?

January 3, 2013

Apple Maps debuted with a flop, but the company that we expect amazing things from promised to make it better. A new rumor about a certain acquisition could make that happen.

A TechCrunch report that came out Wednesday said that Apple could buy the social turn-by-turn navigation company Waze. Palo Alto-based Waze uses real-time information from users to keep road and traffic conditions up-to-date. That’s pretty cool — and Apple Maps needs all the help it can get.

This news comes on the heels of another rumor that Apple was looking to strike a deal with Foursquare — the “check-in” social network. From the TechCrunch report:

“Because Waze maps are built on the location of moving cars, it’s far more accurate than check-in apps. Outside of Google’s project to map cities with Streetview cars – something which has taken years to complete – and the real-world mapping undertaken by volunteers on the Open Streetmaps open source project, there has been little to match Waze’s approach. Waze turned mapping into not only a game, but also a way for drivers to be social, reporting road obstacles, traffic and police traps. It is properly useful.”

There’s a good chance that many iPhone users may have downloaded Waze after the initial outcry about how bad Apple Maps is. (For the record, this blogger frequently uses Apple Maps turn-by-turn directions, which are pretty decent, especially in major cities.) Apple featured a special, alternative-to-maps section in the app store, which included Waze.

The biggest issue with Apple Maps, especially when compared to Google Maps, is its lack of data. Waze could be that avenue to more data.

It’s not unusual for major companies like Apple to buy small companies that produce successful apps. The most notable include Facebook’s billion dollar acquisition of Instagram and Google’s buying of Sparrow and Snapseed.

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