Google March 21 added check-in capability for its Google Latitude application for Apple's iPhone, opening the friend-finding program's game mechanics to a potential 100 million new users.
Google launched check-ins for its Latitude application for Android smartphones in February, allowing users to check in to restaurants and other places from their mobile phone.
The idea is that friends in the area can see their Latitude friends have checked in and join them in if they choose. Also, Latitude may be set to continuously update a user's location so that when a user leaves a shop, he or she will automatically be checked out.
However, Google had yet to make these capabilities immediately available for the iPhone. Now, iPhone users can tap the check-in button to start checking in at nearby places and boost their status to regular, VIP and then guru for frequent visits. Users in Austin can check in to claim offers at more than 60 shops.
iPhone users who wish to check in to Latitude must update their Latitude application, which requires Apple iOS 4 and later, from the iTunes App Store. The application is available for iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPad and iPod Touch, though background location updating is not available on the iPod Touch.
Google also upgraded its Google Places for iPhone application to let users access personalized Hotpot recommendations for places in 30 languages. The search engine launched this application in January, allowing users to search for local businesses and personalize results based on ratings and recommendations.
The application also now features a saved-places feature users may access by signing into their Google account and tapping the new Saved icon on the application's main screen to see all the places they've saved or starred from the iPhone application, google.com/hotpot or maps.google.com.
Google has made a fervent push to port all its mobile-application functionality created for Android to the iPhone, which more than 100 million people use. More users mean more mobile ads to serve, which is Google's bailiwick.