Apple has quietly purchased mapping service Placebase and its accompanying Pushpin API, hinting that the company may be planning to use the assets should it need to replace Google Maps in several of its applications, such as the Maps application on the iPhone and iPod touch. Citing a Twitter update from the founder of openplaces.org, which used the Pushpin API in its software, along with an updated LinkedIn profile for Placebase CEO Jaron Waldman, who is now listed as part of the “Geo Team” at Apple, Computerworld reports that Apple purchased the company in July, and suggests that the company may be looking to replace Google Maps in its products in an effort to further reduce dependency on Google. Although Google Maps offers advanced features like Street View, Placebase offered a wide variety of customizations and features that integrated both public and private data sets, and the Pushpin API, which offered an easy way to layer data onto the maps. Despite the article’s strong suggestions, it is possible Apple purchased the company for reasons unrelated to its relationship with Google, such as bringing in more talent for development of more advanced map- and location-based services.
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