Google added check-in functionality to its Google Latitude application to surface-user location on Google Maps. The tool will enable Google to better compete with Foursquare and Facebook.
Google Feb. 1
added check-in functionality to its Google Latitude application, allowing the service's
users to connect their location with specific places on Google Maps from their
Latitude in February 2009 as a Google
Maps feature that lets users see the approximate location of friends who opt to
share their location. The company later added
Location History and Location Alerts,
real-time updates and desktop accessibility.
Now Google has
taken a page from the books of Foursquare, Gowalla, Facebook Places and other
location-based social services by allowing users to "check in" to a
restaurant, shop or some other location from their mobile phone.
screen shots of this new utility, which is completely opt-in, here
itself from Foursquare and Facebook a bit, Google is allowing users to turn on
the option to automatically check in and check out of specific places.
Users may also
turn on check-in notifications to receive an alert to check in at a nearby
place when they arrive. The idea is to solve the all-too-common problem of
forgetting to check in.
Latitude is built into Google Maps for Android, users will see Google Place
pages, or local business listings, filled with reviews of locations they pop
apes Foursquare's game mechanics a bit. When users check into a favorite place,
they can become a Regular, a VIP or a Guru on a Place page.
The launch of
Google Latitude check-ins is tinged with a measure of irony considering that
Foursquare CEO and founder Dennis Crowley left Google to create his new service
after the search engine bought his previous startup Dodgeball and let it go to
despite Latitude's limited functionality to this point, it already has 10
million active users, while Foursquare only has 6 million. Adding check-ins
could boost the user quotient for Latitude.
experts believe standalone check-in services such as Foursquare and Gowalla
might become obsolete in the shadow of the bigger platforms offered by Google
and Facebook, which has 600 million-plus users.
check-ins via Latitude, users must download the latest Google Maps 5.1 for
Android from Android Market and then join Latitude from the main menu.
Google Latitude for iPhone
users will be able to
see their friends' check-ins but can't yet check in there themselves, though
Google is working on this.