Amazon has reportedly purchased UpNext, the five-year-old, 3-D mapping and directory service that now provides “clickable building”-oriented maps for more than 50 cities, including 23 that are enhanced in depth. The service has experimented with a number of features, including transportation guides, events, happy hour deals, etc. While the purchase price hasn’t been reported, UpNext raised $500,000 in 2011.
For Amazon, the acquisition represents a dive back into the mapping and directory wars it abandoned several years ago when it pulled the plug on its A9 directory. We expect UpNext to be integrated into Kindle Fires and other mobile media, and to leverage the map and directory capabilities for Amazon ad sales, Amazon Offers and small-business support. We also expect it to compete generally with Apple and Google, which are pursuing their own paths in local maps and directories.
We’ve been following UpNext since its inception in 1997. At that time, cofounder Danny Moon launched it with several high school friends as a project in his Entrepreneurs class at Columbia Business School.
I noted that the maps/directories were “cool, but unless you want to torture yourself, you’ll probably want to use a 3D Virtual Cityscape for less than 15 percent of your local lookups. Watching the innovation in the space, however, is thrilling. The applications are already fun, and getting more useful all the time.” The experience, of course, is likely much better today.
source: Addictive Tips