TECHNOLOGY

Will Apple Maps Find Solutions To Its Problems In Foursquare's Data Trove?

12/18/2012 03:42 pm ET | Updated Dec 19, 2012

In an effort to improve its widely-criticized iOS Maps app, Apple is reportedly in talks with Foursquare about partnering to share maps data.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Apple senior vice president Eddy Cue has been meeting with Foursquare representatives over the past few weeks about how to integrate the location-based social network's data and services to help Apple Maps users find locations and business listings. For the uninitiated, Foursquare lets users "check in" to locations, get recommendations about businesses from previous visitors and even write their own reviews.

This report of a possible Apple-Foursquare partnership come just days after Google launched its new Google Maps app for iOS. In its first two days on the App Store, the app was downloaded more than 10 million times, according to a blog post from Google's Jeff Huber, senior vice president of commerce and local.

Google's app includes its Street View technology and public transit directions, while also adding new features like spoken turn-by-turn driving directions and vector-based map tiles. By contrast, Apple Maps has been called everything from inaccurate to "almost unusably bad" since its debut in September. And Apple's Scott Forstall, who was in charge of the company's mobile software unit at the time of the iOS 6 launch, was reportedly forced to leave the company in October after refusing to apologize for Maps.

According to The Street, Apple executive Eddy Cue has been using Foursquare's service recently, checking in to two locations and posting the Foursquare updates on Twitter. Cue, normally an infrequent tweeter, took over Apple's Siri and Maps as part of the company's management shakeup in October.

Not everyone thinks a partnership between Apple and Foursquare would fix the underlying problems in Apple's buggy Maps app.

BGR's Zach Epstein, for example, doesn't think Foursquare will bring the major fixes Apple needs.

"Apple’s problem isn’t the fact that its Maps app can’t tell people how many Foursquare users have checked into a local restaurant, it’s surfacing a result in Wichita, Kansas when someone searches for a local restaurant in New York," writes Epstein. "And Apple’s problem also isn’t the fact that it can’t guide people to the most popular establishments based on Foursquare ratings, it’s that it guides people into the middle of the Australian outback and leaves them for dead."

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