Tp provide location-based services, companies will need maps that will describe relations between shops, people and places. Both Google and Apple are collecting this information, using software embedded in the handsets.
Google and Apple use this data to improve the accuracy of everything on the phone that uses location. That includes maps and navigation services, but also advertising aimed at people in a particular spot — a potentially huge business that is just getting off the ground. In fact, the information has become so valuable that the companies have been willing to push the envelope on privacy to collect it.
“Google envisions a world where even a small business can promote products to consumers nearby on a mobile device,” said Alistair Goodman, chief executive of Placecast, a location-based advertising company here. “That is a massive market.”
The companies are using the cell tower and hot spot data to build maps of the world, maps that help smartphones quickly pinpoint their locations. Using the signals as navigational beacons is particularly useful in places where GPS satellite signals are weak, like urban areas or anywhere indoors.
What does all this mean?
For example, a retailer that has eight outlets in a city could use data about walking patterns to determine where to open its next outlet.
“You are basically getting insight into human behavior that we’ve never had before,” Mr. Morgan said.