Apple Replaces Google And Skyhook Databases With In-House Database To Provide Location-Based Services

News | Saturday July 24 2010 11:14 AM | Comments (0) Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

In June this year, Apple made a number of changes to its privacy policy that led two federal legislators to question the company's motives. While Cupertino's response to the issue itself is nothing unusual, the letter makes note of a subtle change in the use of location databases. In the communication, Apple writes:
“To provide the high quality products and services that its customers demand, Apple must have access to comprehensive location-based information. For devices running iPhone OS versions 1.1.3 to 3.1, Apple relied on (and still relies on) databases maintained by Google and Skyhook Wireless (“Skyhook”) to provide location-based services. Beginning with the iPhone OS version 3.2 released in April 2010, Apple relies on its own databases to provide location-based services and for diagnostic purposes. These databases must be updated continuously to account for, among other things, the ever-changing physical landscape, more innovative uses of mobile technology, and the increasing number of Apple ’s customers. Apple has always taken great care to protect the privacy of its customers.”
As the letter notes, Apple customers who use older versions of the
will continue to make use of location databases provided by Google and Skyhook. However, Apple 's use of an alternate in-house database in the newer versions mark an important strategic move to do away with the company's dependence on Google.
Also, location-based-services have seen an exponential growth in usage in recent times. Apple 's acquisition of PlaceBase and Poly9 are an indication of the company's focus in this new area of business. From that perspective, Apple 's use of its own location database in its iOS product is something that was very much on the cards.
, which has been available on the Android and advertised as one of the major features.Apple continues to use Google Maps for the Maps application that comes pre-installed on the iPhone , it will be interesting to see when Apple replaces it with its own app with turn-by-turn navigation as it seems to be the logical next step.
What do you think? Is Apple 's latest move driven by the potential growth prospects in the LBS segment or do you think the company merely wants to do away with its dependence on Google? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

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