Apple May Be Working on Street View Competitor and Search

Apple

Apple is rumored to be working on something new that could make the company go head to head with its biggest rival, Google. After its camera-equipped car was spotted roaming around San Francisco Bay Area, rumors are flooding the web that Apple could be working on a Google Street View competitor to add to its Maps application as well as take on Google Search with its own search service.

Besides the appearance of Dodge Caravan that was spotted by a blogger in the Bay Area, the company has posted a new job opening on its website. The company is looking for an engineering project manager for what the company calls Apple Search.

The company has been Google’s biggest rival for a long time now. But the rivalry has been mostly around their smartphone and tablet operating systems, some hardware devices and most recently wearable smartwatches. The Cupertino-based company has previously went head on with Google after releasing Apple Maps with its mobile operating system, iOS 6. That was in direct competition with Google Maps. However, the service was greeted with poor reviews and negative remarks for its faulty information and technical glitches.

Apple Maps has improved significantly over time to a point where users no longer find themselves in the middle of nowhere when following its directions, but Google Maps has one more unique feature that iPhone makers do not have, and that is the ability to explore remote locations in 360 degree view. Called Street Views, it is one of the most prominent and useful features that the search giant has up its sleeves.

With the sighting of the caravan mounted with X-shaped camera mechanism and some spinning devices, rumors are now hot that Apple could be finally coming up with something to be on par with Google Maps in terms of features. Sources speculate that the spinning devices on top of the caravan that was spotted could be LiDAR sensors. The sensors are used for light detection and ranging, which is also the elaborated form of LiDAR, and are used for crafting map imagery.

Since Google uses such technologies in its Street View cars when mapping its surroundings for Google Maps, it is a safe assumption that the Cupertino-based company is also planning to do the same with a car that is equipped with similar technologies. If that is true, a Street View competitor from Apple could be popping up soon in addition to a Search competitor to Google.

However, taking 360 degree imagery for making maps is not the only thing that cars equipped with cameras and LiDAR sensors are used for. The sensors are also found in Google’s self-driving cars. As self-driving is getting momentum, especially between Google’s self-driving car and Uber, people are speculating that Apple could also be interested in developing its own fleet of self-driving cars, and what was spotted in San Francisco Bay Area was one of the early prototypes.

Mashable confirmed that at least one of the cars are leased to Apple, which gives very clear indication that it’s the Cupertino-based company doing the beta testing of something new out in the streets. Nothing is confirmed yet as the company hasn’t returned a request for comment from the press, but that will not stop the press from making assumptions about what the company is up to.

As if taking on Street View or self-driving car was not enough, Apple’s new job posting suggests that the company is working on something called Apple Search. If the naming is any indication, the world’s most valuable company maybe preparing to take the battle with Google to the highest peak. Combining all of that gives a clear picture that Apple is coming up with a competitor to take on Street View and Search services that Google is currently offering.

By Aminul Islam Sajib

Source:
PC Magazine
Mashable
MacWorld

Photo by Marco Paköeningrat – Creativecommons Flickr License

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