Nokia Here Maps Division Announces Acquisition of Mapping Startup Desti

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In a new move to up its Here Maps business, Finnish smartphone maker Nokia announced the acquisition of the mapping startup Desti on Friday. The company made an announcement on its official blog without disclosing details of the deal.

The acquired startup Desti is a spinoff of SRI International – the brains responsible for popular Apple’s Siri. It clearly shows the company’s approach towards its Here Maps business is to compete with the likes of Apple Maps and Google Maps.

“With Desti’s technology, we want to make those answers even more personal,” Nokia said in its blog. “What we particularly like about Desti is its humanized approach as opposed to the robotic and unemotional traditional search engines,” it added.

Desti is a travel guide app that uses artificial intelligence and natural language processing to help travellers find what they’re looking for. For instance, if someone is looking for a cheap place for a getaway, the app mines through hotel reviews and descriptions to offer suitable options.

“At Here we match people with the places that matter to them, so that they feel like a local wherever they are,” said Don Zereski, Here VP of Search and Places.

Zereski explains the technology doesn’t work like traditional search engines, which index keywords, but instead analyses the context around the questions asked. Based on the query, the app tries to create a natural dialogue with the person.

“We want to create a new class of location services that implicitly understands who you are and what you’re looking for, sometimes even before you ask” added Zereski.

Notably the Desti app had gone public in November 2012 and was only available at iOS before being pulled from the App Store.

Filed in: Computer Hardware, News, Technology News

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