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Maps Roundup: Google Avoids Waze Antitrust Fight, Scout Social Mapping, deCarta Route Patent


Google spent just over $1 billion to take Waze away from Facebook, Apple or Nokia and Microsoft. It equally sought the real-time driver feedback that Waze crowd-sourcing provides.

Given the size of the transaction the US FTC got immediately involved to bring antitrust scrutiny to the acquisition. Now Bloomberg reports that the FTC is unlikely to block the deal:

The Federal Trade Commission hasn’t raised concerns that the transaction might hurt competition, said the people, who asked not to be named because they weren’t authorized to speak publicly about the matter. Google said June 21 that it had been contacted by the agency about the transaction.

Though innovative, Waze is a relatively small player in the mapping world and it would be difficult for the FTC to make a compelling case against the acquisition.

Thought Waze is gone there are a number of other independent mapping providers that remain. Among them is Telenav, which offers GPS based smartphone navigation and local search app Scout. This morning the company announced a new version of the app for Android devices. It offers two new social mapping features.

The first is called OnMyWay, which allows real-time ETA sharing. Waze also offers this feature; and both were preceded by Glympse. Telenav/Scout also announced a related social meetup capability:

Scout makes it simple to share an address and drive with friends or family. To start, users select one or more people to meet from their contact lists and a destination. Scout will then navigate each person there, while also providing a map on the same screen with real-time location and an ETA for each driver.

Finally independent mapping provider deCarta announced last month that it was granted a patent for mobile “search along the route.”

deCarta has created local search technology that is more “driver-centric” meaning it returns only the relevant search results for drivers looking for Points of Interest (POIs) that are convenient to them based on their forward direction of travel and with minimal detour off their current road…

deCarta’s new patent (US 8401786) covers the ability to generate search results for places where the total time or distance to get to the search result and back on route is less than a driver-set maximum. The intellectual property covered in the patent is available now as part of deCarta’s L2 local search engine and is generating interest amongst automotive OEMs, Tier1s, telematics service providers and mobile app developers.

Waze also offers a comparable search along the route feature and so does Mapquest. Both are likely implicated by deCarta’s patent.

As a practical matter Telenav, which is public, and deCarta are both potential acquisition targets.

 

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