Apple-Logo-rainbowHow much do you think Google has invested into their Google Maps and Street View services?  More than likely, probably hundreds of millions of dollars would be a safe bet.  It looks like Street view’s serves a double folded purpose.  Not only does it give users the ability to look around on Google Maps and see the streets up close and personal, but it there’s one more important function of Street View – capturing real-world geo-data for Google Maps.

Because of the success that Google’s Street View has been having, Apple would like a piece of the pie (apple pie…see what I did there?).  Apple appears to be following in Google’s tire tracks.  There is a 9to5 Mac article that solves the mystery of earlier Apple minivan sightings.  There were those who were speculating that these vans were doing one of two things: either they were capturing Street View images, just like Google, or they were also trying to build a self-driving car.  The answer to either speculation is neither.

Apple Van

According to the 9to5 article, these vans are actually helping Apple “develop

[ ] its first entirely in-house mapping database to reduce its reliance on TomTom” and that a Street View-like bod of images could be a potential byproduct of the process.  Apple Maps upgrades could be coming, and this could simply be part of it.  But we’ll all just have to wait and see what comes about at WWDC in June.

Not only is Apple trying to reduce their dependency on TomTom, but Apple might be doing it with the help of Yelp-provided images and content.  There is even news that Apple has begun diversifying review sources, bot for US and international business locations.  This would add content from both TripAdvisor and Booking.com.

Greg Sterling says that “Apple has come to the same conclusion that Google did years ago. In order to have the highest quality mapping product you have to own key parts of the stack, including the base data.”

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