Facebook took out their bank account to have their own street-level mapping service, we are talking about Mapillary, a street-level imagery platform that scales and automates mapping. Since 2013, users in some 190 countries have been collecting photos of their neighborhoods using smartphones, with Mapillary software stitching them all together to create immersive street-level views.
So far, all of the Mapillary images have been free to use for any non-commercial user, but starting today, it will be free for commercial users as well, giving us a clue as to how Facebook might include the service in its platform. The acquisition also helps drive Facebook’s overall map-based ambitions, and it could even integrate with Facebook to show where the businesses that have accounts are located there. Another use may be linked to Oculus VR glasses.
Mapillary is the largest competitor to Google Street View and has attracted the attention of other large technology companies in its time, and it is that even Amazon showed great interest a few years ago. Alternatives like Apple Maps and Bing Maps have tried (and possibly failed) to compete with Google’s offer, but with Facebook, at the helm Mapillary, we could have a worthy rival to Google Street View. The cost of the acquisition was not disclosed.