Computerworld reveals today, that in all quietness Apple acquired Placebase back in July. Placebase is a product similar to Google Maps with maps covering the whole world and availability to zoom in and out on places you want to get a closer look at. The differences though, are that Google Maps is a free service, while Placebase isn’t, but Placebase offers opportunities that Google doesn’t, for example different layers you can superimpose over your mapping data, such as demographics and crime data.
But what does this acquiring mean? Apple hasn’t announced anything about it, and Computerworld only found out by accidentally looking at the former Placebase CEO, Jaron Waldman’s LinkedIn profile, and discovered that he was now working in a “Geo Team” at Apple.
Obviously, Jaron Walsman is working on something that have to do with mapping, and this could be another clue to a possible independency of Google, because Google is provisionally providing maps for the iPhone as well as iPhoto ‘09. With the buying of Placebase and its personal, Apple now has the opportunity to make their own maps for their devices and applications, and probably integrate maps in many other applications.
The acquiring of Placebase isn’t the only clue to a possible Google independency. Earlier this year, Apple let Google’s Eric Schmidt go from their board of directors because Apple and Google were competing on too many fronts, after Google announced that they were working on an operating system. Last but not least, Apple has been criticized lately because Google claims that Apple has rejected some of their applications for iPhone and iPod Touch with the reason that they were to similar to some of Apple’s own applications.