In an effort to improve its map service, Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) has acquired Spotsetter, according to a report from TechCrunch. Spotsetter is a “social search engine,” which provides personalized local recommendations by incorporating input from friends.
Although the Spotsetter service will be shut down, the technology could help Apple better compete with Google’s (NASDAQ:GOOG) location services. Spotsetter engineers Stephen Tse and Johnny Lee previously worked for Google Maps.
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Spotsetter used an algorithm to pull personal content from Facebook (NASDAQ:FB), Twitter (NYSE:TWTR), Instagram and Foursquare, in order to tailor local recommendations. The app also aggregated review content from Yelp (NYSE:YELP), Zagat and TripAdvisor (NASDAQ:TRIP).
This may be an indication that Apple plans to make its local service more personalized by adding a social layer to its maps. Apple Maps has been generally regarded as inferior to Google Maps, even facing protests when Apple made its own maps the default iPhone service in 2012.
Although Apple made few acquisitions under Steve Jobs, the company has been making some sizeable purchases as of late. Notably, the company recently acquired Beats Music for $3 billion.
Apple holds roughly $150 billion in cash, so they can afford to be more acquisitive. The company has made over a dozen purchases in the past year.
Apple shares are up 15% year-to-date. They currently trade around $645, with a market cap of $556 billion.