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Apple acquires recommendation service Spotsetter in bid to boost Maps

Apple has reportedly snapped up Spotsetter, a service that in its own words “provides personalized recommendations for places to go,” such as restaurants, stores and entertainment venues.

The startup’s technology enables it to place social data on top of digital maps, which doesn’t leave too much to the imagination as to how Apple might make use of its most recent acquisition.

Spotsetter’s iOS and Android app gathered data from a variety of sources, including friends’ recommendations and social media sites. A user could search via place, category or keyword to find out more about a particular place, with special attention paid to friends’ opinions on various venues.

The deal, revealed to TechCrunch by an unnamed source, comes a week after Silicon Valley-based Spotsetter announced its software was being pulled from app stores.

In a short post on its website, Spotsetter co-founder Johnny Lee hinted that something was afoot, saying his team still had “big dreams for personalized search for places,” adding that he looked forward to seeing “great progress in this area.”

Though neither company has yet made any official announcement about the reported acquisition, it looks like the deal’s for real with both Lee and fellow co-founder Stephen Tse (a former Google Maps engineer) now listing Apple as their current place of employment on their respective LinkedIn pages.

As for the remaining members of the Spotsetter team, TechCrunch says in its report that only “some” of them have made the move to Cupertino.

Following Apple’s botched launch of Maps back in 2012, the tech giant has been steadily working to bolster the software with gradual improvements and a slew of mapping-related acquisitions over the last year or so.

It’s expected Apple will release a much-improved Maps later this year with the launch of iOS 8, with the revamped software possibly including features powered by Spotsetter’s technology.

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