Google and its recently-released Maps application might have the spotlight for now, but Apple is hatching out a plan to win it back. A new report is out this afternoon claiming that the Cupertino company is in preliminary talks with Foursquare, the popular location-based social network, to integrate its local data into iOS Maps…

The Wall Street Journal has the scoop:

“Apple Inc. is in early discussions to integrate local data from Foursquare Labs Inc. into its mapping application, according to people familiar with the talks, as the company continues to build an arsenal of local data to try to take on Google Inc.

The talks, which took place in recent weeks and involve Apple senior vice president Eddy Cue, are the latest sign of Apple’s plans to more tightly integrate local services into the iPhone and iPad. The talks with New York-based Foursquare come as Apple has been talking to a number of companies that collect local data to improve its new mapping product. The maps service, released in September, has had a rocky reception and faces fierce competition from Google.”

Since it debuted in September, the Maps app has caused nothing but problems for Apple. Its inaccurate data sparked numerous user complaints, ultimately leading to a public apology and two executive oustings. In October, it was announced that Scott Forstall would be leaving, and Eddy Cue would be taking over the Maps team.

A deal with Foursquare could certainly help Cue beef up iOS Maps’ location data. The social network has over 20 million users — many of which are constantly checking into restaurants, businesses, and other places. It’s also possible that Apple could use Foursquare’s database of tips and ratings for many of these places, which would be huge plus.

There’s obviously no way of confirming this report, but it wouldn’t surprise us at all if it was dead-on. Apple has kind of switched gears in the last few years and has recently shown a willingness to partner with social networks. Look at its system-level integration of Twitter, and now Facebook, and the Yelp and Rotten Tomato reviews in Siri.

Apple certainly has to do something drastic if it wants to put itself back in the Maps game. Google’s Maps app, which it says is actually better than its Android counterpart, has been extremely popular since it debuted last week. Earlier today, the company’s SVP of Commerce announced that the app hit 10 million downloads in less than 48 hours.

What do you think, could Foursquare’s data help Apple get Maps back on track?