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Apple buys journey planning app


By Shona Ghosh

Posted on 23 Aug 2013 at 09:49

Apple has bought Embark, a journey planning app that lets users map out their trips on public transport.

The Silicon Valley-based startup offers ten free apps on iOS, covering different transport systems in seven US cities, including New York's metro-north rail service and its subway. There's no UK coverage, and Embark doesn't seem to cover walking or cycling directions, as Google Maps does.

The deal follows Apple's acquisition of similar public transport app, HopStop, last month.

According to former Wall Street Journal reporter Jessica Lessin, Apple has bought the small team of developers for an unknown sum, and plans to implement Embark's planning technology into Apple Maps. An Apple spokesperson confirmed the deal to Lessin.

Embark was one of the planning apps recommended by Apple last autumn, after the company replaced Google Maps with its own mapping app in iOS 6. Users revolted against Apple Maps' poor quality and the company was forced to apologise for the slip-up.

Apple did attempt to integrate journey planner-style features into its original app, but eventually recommended third-party providers, including Embark.

Even if Apple does improve its journey planning features, it'll be some way behind Google Maps, which has public transport data for more than 500 cities globally, including those in the UK.

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User comments

And Nokia.....

" it'll be some way behind Google Maps,"

And Nokia - Here Transit is brilliant for planning journeys.

By everton2004 on 23 Aug 2013

Google Maps doesn't do public transport in UK

Google Maps might be ahead in train routes, but it's rubbish at buses - mainly because it insists on using trains if there's any chance of a train covering the route.

This applies not only if the train is faster, but even if it's slower, and insisting on a bus option doesn't change that.

For example, I just asked Google Maps to get me home from my office right now - *specifying buses*. The result (1hr 32mins, involving trains ONLY, and including a change of trains and costing around £6) is here:

And yet, there's a DIRECT half-hourly service from a bus stop 5 mins from my office, which only takes 23 minutes, costs less than half the price & involves no extra walking.

This isn't a quirk. It happens all the time. Google is rubbish at bus transport.

What is even more annoying, I've reported this particular journey and the first time (almost a year ago) received a reply from a Google engineer, so they know about it.

By grannybuttons on 23 Aug 2013

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