Feb 1, 2011
Oh no, looks like Google has something up their sleeves. Today they announced the addition of Check-Ins via Google Latitude. Location based social networks and games have gained increasing popularity with sites such as Foursquare boasting over 15 million check-ins in their first year of service.
Check-ins are essential just that, a check in to a certain place or location. Through these various services you can share your location with others, allowing them to see where you are and what you’re up to. Different sites put different spins and incentives on check-ins such as badges or real world discounts to the very establishments that you are checking in to.
You can still use Google Latitude to automatically update and share your location but now with the addition of check-ins you can share what coffee spot or burger joint your hanging out. Also, since Latitude is built right into Google Maps for Android, you’ll be able to see the Place page of the location you’re checking in to, complete with reviews and suggestions. If you plan on having friends meet up with you, they can simply visit the Place page from your Latitude profile and then pull up Google Navigation for turn-by-turn directions (no more “I couldn’t find the place” excuses).
Along with the simple act of checking in, Google has included a few features to make things easy and less painful:
- Notifications – Turn on check-in notifications in Latitude’s settings and get a notification to check in at a nearby place once you arrive. Never forget to check in again.
- Automatic check-ins – Choose to automatically check in at specific places you designate, and you’ll be checked in when you’re there. You can talk to friends or finish your bagel without fumbling with your phone.
- Check out – Once you leave, Latitude knows to automatically check you out of places so friends aren’t left guessing if you’re still there.
- Check-in Status – Check in at a favorite place to earn special status there; you’ll see if you’ve become a “Regular,” a “VIP” or a “Guru” on its Place page. Keep checking in to hold onto your status or reach the next level.
Google has also stated that this is just the beginning, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see them start including rewards and games similar to services like SCVNGR. If you’re worried about privacy you probably shouldn’t be using location based social networks, but as with Latitude, sharing is completely opt-in and includes the choice of sharing with your friends on Latitude, publicly on the web and your Google profile, or just yourself.
To start checking in, just download the most recent Google Maps from the Market and then join Latitude. For more information be sure to hit up the links below.
Download: Google Maps
Source: Google Mobile Blog