Intensifying the buyout wars going on between the bigwigs of the tech world, Apple has reportedly very recently acquired the social search engine, Spotsetter. Apple has not officially confirmed the acquisition, yet, and is expected to make its typical non-committal response. Spotsetter, which announced the app’s closure last week, employs big data analysis to offer personalised recommendations to people about places that users can visit.
Primarily, the Spotsetter’s technology makes use of social data gathered from the Internet and layers the same over maps to try and provide users a more holistic choice of places, along with recommendations from friends of users who have been there. While Apple Maps had initially garnered a lot of flak for its inaccuracy in showing places, this could mean that it will use the technology to improve the current setup.
Spotsetter was available both as a Web app and a mobile app (for Android and iOS). On the company’s blog, the farewell note posted by Co-Founder Johnny Lee, first reported by Techcrunch, reads, “With fondest emotions, I’m announcing that we are closing down Spotsetter app. We still have big dreams for personalized search for places and look forward to seeing great progress in this area. Thank you everyone for your support over the past years!” The firm was founded in 2012 by ex-Google Maps engineer Stephen Tse and Lee.
Spotsetter, as it points to a blog post on the website, has made use of interviews done with users to understand the importance of photos of places, to help make informed choices. Currently it makes use of information available on other social networks like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr,Foursquare to name a few.
While the app itself is defunct now, it could be used to search for places based on a category or a keyword. The same would be then presented with pictures and also user recommendations from friends who have been there or are experts in their particular area, say pizzas, or sushi.
Spotsetter, in fact, also has a marked interest in the field of wearable technology, akin to the Google Glass or the rumoured iWatch. According to blog posts on the website posted around three months back, the whole idea of using wearables to search for places would be revolutionary, with the postsaying, “We foresee a similar transition as users migrate from mobile to wearables when looking for places. With wearables, we’ll focus on using even fewer, but stronger, positive signals to separate the most relevant places from the rest. These signals come in the form of personalization, such as a recommendation from a trusted friend or a great review from your favorite professional chef.”