Location, location, location: it’s the time-honored mantra of real-estate agents and retailers, but could just as well be applied to Google (NSDQ: GOOG), which is ramping up the functionality of its mapping service with realtime results from Inrix.
Inrix is providing Google with realtime data services for things such as travel times with traffic, which it gets in part by crowdsourcing information from wireless and GPS devices: it has about 30 million devices already on its network.
The move to Inrix seems to have been made to replace an earlier implementation of realtime mapping information — something that Google removed from the service back in July because the results were not accurate enough, according to this report in Search Engine Roundtable.
Specific financial terms of the deal between Inrix and Google have not been disclosed but Geek Wire notes it is a multimillion-dollar, multiyear agreement.
The Inrix-powered Google mapping and navigation service is already available to users in eight countries including the UK and Germany — a list that the companies say will expand over time. In all, Inrix has traffic data for some 22 countries, a footprint that was boosted in August when it completed the purchase of UK-based ITIS Holdings £37 million ($60 million).
Before the Google deal, Inrix said its data was used by around 100 million people, with the data implemented by other big clients including Audi, Ford, Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) and Map Quest, writes TechCrunch.
Google has made other investments in the area of location services that point to how it might expand its own offerings in the future. Earlier this month, it emerged that it was making a seed investment of $750,000 in EchoEcho, in partnership with UK VC firm PROfounders Capital. EchoEcho provides a kind of “friend finder” service: user A texts user B asking for user B’s location, and with a reply user B can pinpoint that location to user A on a map. The service works on Android, iPhone, BlackBerry and Nokia (NYSE: NOK) devices.