Apple is reportedly interested in adding data from the popular location-based check-in app, foursqure, to iOS Maps. That's according to Jessica E. Lessin and Spencer E. Ante of the Wall Street Journal:
The talks, which took place in recent weeks and involve Apple senior vice president Eddy Cue, are the latest sign of Apple's plans to more tightly integrate local services into the iPhone and iPad. The discussions with New York-based Foursquare come as Apple has been talking to a number of companies that collect local data to improve its new mapping product. The maps service, released in September, has had a rocky reception and faces fierce competition from Google.
foursquare collects data about where users go, as well as sentiment and commentary about those places. Whether this would actually improve the quality of Apple's currently middling local search and point-of-interest data, or would merely offer more and more varied data, is hard to say. Apple already sources data from TomTom and Yelp, among others, but has had considerable problems aggregating, cleansing, and qualifying it.
The WSJ also says:
Before he died last year, Apple co-founder Steve Jobs told at least one associate that he thought Apple could compete head-on with Google in local search, according to the person he spoke to.
There's no way to know how much broken-telephone is included in that quote, or any information on how Apple planned to actually accomplish the goal, but here's the thing -- Apple replaced the Google-powered iOS 5 Maps app with the non-Google-powered iOS 6 Maps app, so now they are competing head-on with Google in local search. There's no "think" about it.
Local search is table stakes now on mobile. Apple has to nail it. foursquare is interesting, but getting iOS 6 Maps to the point where it's reliable is vital.
Source: Wall Street Journal