Google finally seems to have something to take on Location Based Services such as Foursquare and Gowalla (And Facebook Places in some Places). With the new update for Google Maps for Android, v5.1, you can now check into places.
You can check in from Latitude, or directly from the Places application. I haven’t yet used it, but you can set up automatic checkins for individual locations, alerts and more. Check out the video below, and the Blog entry from the Google Mobile Blog for more info.
I hope Google ties up with local businesses, like Foursquare and Gowalla and Brightkite do to actually make it worth checking in.
From the Official Google Mobile Blog:
Tuesday, February 1, 2011 | 10:10 AM
(Cross-posted with the Official Google Blog)
We first introduced Google Latitude to help you stay in touch with your friends and family by making it easy to share where you are. For the 10 million people actively using Latitude each month, this “where” has been a location on a map. Starting today in Google Maps 5.1 for Android, you can also connect that location to a real place by checking in there using Latitude.
Connecting your location with places
You can still use Latitude to automatically update and share your location, but check-ins let you add context to the location—like captions to a photo. For example, I live in San Francisco but often travel around the world. Until today, sharing my location let friends and family know if I was across the globe or in their neighborhood. Now, check-ins let them see the cool restaurant I’m trying in Taipei or join me for a latte at the cafe nearby.
Not your typical check-ins
Because you can use Latitude to automatically detect your location, we’ve added a few twists to checking in to make it really easy:
- 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.
Explore your world one check-in at a time
Latitude is built right into Google Maps for Android so check-ins work across Latitude and Maps seamlessly. For example, check in at that new hamburger joint, and you’ll see its Place page with reviews to help you order. When friends check in at a place, you can go straight from their Latitude profile to its Place page to learn about it, fire up Google Maps Navigation (Beta) for turn-by-turn directions to them, and more.
You can also 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.
Of course, we thought carefully about how to make checking in to places quick and easy while giving you control over your privacy. Just like when sharing your location with Latitude, checking in is 100% opt-in, and you can choose to share any check-in with your friends on Latitude, publicly on the web and your Google profile, or just yourself. Learn more about checking in and managing your check-ins with Latitude in the Help Center. Coming later this week, you’ll also be able to see your complete history of check-ins using the optional History tab at google.com/latitude from your computer.
Start checking in by downloading the latest Google Maps from Android Market (on Android 1.6+; tap here if you’re on your phone) and then joining Latitude from the main menu. You can check in everywhere Maps and Latitude are already available. If you’re using the new Latitude app for iPhone, you’ll see your friends’ check-ins, and we’ll update the app soon so you can check in too.
Just the beginning…
Checking in from Latitude is just one step in helping you connect the places you go with the people you care about. We believe in letting you use or share your location however you like, and we’re working on making location and check-ins useful in more places—across Google and the web.”