Apple buys indoor-GPS company WiFiSLAM for $20 million

Company offers indoor detection of a person's mobile location

Apple have paid around $20 million for Silicon Valley-based company, WiFiSLAM, the indoor-GPS service that will allow location of a user's mobile inside buildings over Wi-Fi.

According to a Wall Street Journal report, Apple confirmed the purchase of the start-up company but did not confirm the sale price, which WSJ heard from an anonymous source.

WiFiSLAM was founded in 2010 by Joseph Huang, a former Google engineering intern and Jessica Tsoong. The technology that they have developed enables mobile apps to locate a person's mobile handset inside a building using Wi-Fi signals.

The indoor-GPS could help app developers produce indoor mapping technology and new types of retail and social networking apps, WSJ reports.

This move towards another level of mobile location services will act as a step towards improving Apple's overall GPS technology.

Last year, Apple opted to produce their own map application for the iPhone, leaving behind the previously used Google Maps.

Apple Maps received a lot of negative reviews and was even described as potentially 'life threatening' by police in Australia for its misguided map instructions. Apple CEO Tim Cook eventually had to issue a formal apology for the app's shortcomings.

Scott Forstall, the man in charge of Apple's own mapping service was then told to leave the company.

Google Maps went on to release a version of its app for iOS6. Google currently offers indoor mapping in certain locations such as shopping centres and airports.

Source: The Wall Street Journal

Image: WiFiSLAM