I‘ve just checked in to my local Marks & Spencer ‘Food Hall’ (not hard. It’s downstairs in the basement!) and it turns out I’m the mayor!
Well, not really. I’m not ‘the mayor’ because that’s a Foursquare concept, and I checked in on Google maps.
You didn’t know there’s a check-in app with Google maps?
Well, no, neither did I but apparently there has been for a while now on Google maps for Android. However, what’s new and came about with no fanfare at all in last week’s Maps for Android update is the leaderboard concept.
It turns out that Google Latitude, which came bundled with Maps on Android, has been re-developed as a Foursquare and Facebook Places competitor. Originally it was designed to connect you up with friends and family who might be geographically nearby, a bit like Banjo does across social networks, but now it has been adapted to allocate points for check-ins. Two points for new locations, one point for every subsequent check-in.
Obviously, it’s not as sophisticated as Foursquare. It can inform your friends, selectable through Google+ Circles, of your check-in and points, and it does take you to a Google profile for that location with reviews and photos, but there are no swanky badges and no special offers or other services from suppliers.
The one, tricky, downside is switching it off. Based as it is on the Latitude friend finding concept, it wants to stay on, tracking your position all the time. Your battery level won’t drop like a stone because it will settle for using the less accurate mobile mast tracking system, rather than GPS but once you have switched it on, the only way to switch Latitude off is to go to the apps management setting and turn it off manually.
How will all this effect search? Will Google check-ins power +1s for locations? What do you think? ;)
Feature Image: Lululemon Athletica