Google has acquired the two-year old startup Urban Engines to incorporate its location-based analytics into Google Maps.
“Location analytics is an important focus for both Urban Engines and Google, and we’re excited to combine forces to help organizations better understand how the world moves,” said Urban Engines in a blog post.
Google Maps has been improving and expanding its functionality, as Apple and other companies like Uber bolster their own mapping capabilities.
Jen Fitzpatrick, who leads the Google Maps team, told Business Insider that they’re trying to build “the richest, deepest, most detailed understanding of the real world that’s ever existed”. That includes incorporating the sort of rich traffic data that Urban Engines collects and analyzes. The company said it has customers across the Americas, Asia, Europe, Africa, and the Middle East.
“With the rapid growth in sensors (GPS, beacons, etc.) on smartphones and cars and transit, we are now truly in the age of Internet of Moving Things,” the company said in its blog post. “The potential to improve the lives of millions of commuters, by learning from commuting behavior patterns, reshaping congestion and creating new consumer services in each minute-mile is incredible.”
To counter a national aversion to digital payments of any kind, the northern Italian city of Bergamo has taken matters into its own hands, with some beneficial results.