The Allure of Location-Based Data : What Apple’s Acquisition of Locationary Means for Smart Services

Sharing your personal location-based data is generally NOT a good idea. However, on the business side, localized data can be a great thing. News broke early this morning that Apple had acquired local data company Locationary. The Toronto-based Locationary, a small Canadian startup backed by Extreme Venture Partners and Plazacorp Ventures, is a Wikipedia of sorts for location data. It’s obvious what Apple’s plans are with Locationary: beef up its new mapping service. Psst…we’re coming for you Google Maps.

Locationary uses crowdsourcing and a federated data exchange platform called Saturn to collect, merge and continuously verify a massive database of information on local businesses. Local. businesses. It collects data on businesses around the world, and since it continuously verifies against its database it solves location’s biggest problem: out-of-date information.

But in the era of PRISM, consumers are increasingly aware of how location data is and can be used in the future.  When it comes to corporate profits, location data is especially lucrative for the likes of Apple, Google and others.  What concerns remain as consumer service providers become more deeply integrated with our personal data?

3 things to consider when it comes to localized data


  • It’s not all for the consumer. 

Apple and Google get massive returns from producing localized data on businesses. The data they are collecting on you, the consumer, is endless: search queries, time of search, request of search, mapping data, traffic routes, related searches, and mobile data that is transmitted back to the mothership during your entire journey. Imagine getting better services, deals and other relevant information delivered to you based on your searches, check-ins, or other localized consumer data.

Apple, Google, Microsoft — these tech giants all have their respective mobile platforms as well as accompanying devices. And the mobile web also has your search eyes. By localizing businesses data with increased potential for real-time feedback and actions, who is to say that in two years they haven’t localized their own Foursquare?

The connected consumer is changing the way businesses market to consumers, so it only makes sense the platforms that “own” those connected consumers would find a way to better help businesses market to them…and charge a premium for it.

  • Consumer trust means cleaner data, more services. 

Right now we trust search on our mobile devices because we don’t have any other choice. But what if those localized search results were even more accurate? How many times have you gotten to where your mapping service said the restaurant was, but it isn’t? Have you ever gotten to a business but not only is it closed but it’s obvious it has been closed for a long time?

Cleaner, localized data would win the connected consumers heart. But at what cost? They could, you know, just turn around and sell all of that information they’ve learned about us.