The location space is heating up, particularly between Apple and Google, with news of Apple buying Embark on Thursday. Jessica Lessin got the scoop, along with confirmation from Apple of the deal, but no details of how much Apple paid. Embark has been used on both iOS and Android to build public transportation maps. This follows Apple’s July purchase of Hotspot, another public transportation data provider.
Lessin notes that both Google and Apple have gone on buying sprees in order to load up their respective armories with navigational weapons. Google paid upwards of $1 billion to grab Waze just this past June. The crowdsourced, social sharing app lets users reports real time traffic incidents. Google has wasted no time integrating Waze into Google Maps; software updates doing just that arrived earlier this week.
For Apple, any improvements it can make to its own Maps could provide a smoother ride down the line. When it abandoned Google Maps for its own product, the end result was buggy behavior and unhappy iOS users. Apple has done much work to address shortcomings in Maps on its own, but there’s nothing wrong with spending a little of that cash hoard to make Maps even better.