Google joins the Check-in War
Google announced today that it will integrate checkins to their Google Latitude app for Android devices.
Google’s mission is to organize the world‘s information and make it universally accessible and useful.
This new addition just adds to the company’s mission by integrating more social interactions into their products. Google has several social products, like Orkut which has been dwarfed by rivals Facebook and Myspace. They even tried microblogging with Google Buzz. However none of their social products have been dominant in their categories so far. With the addition of mobile check-ins Google will be rivalling Foursquare, Gowalla,
Facebook Places and other social apps that have jumped on to the check-in train.
Unfortunately Google has launched the service in their Android Application only, leaving Iphone and Blackberry users waiting to test it out. Another flaw is that users cannot add venues from the mobile app, which negates it’s effectiveness in poorly mapped areas. Additionally Google Latitude doesn’t allow you to share your location with other social networks like Facebook or Twitter. Hey Google, this is 2011, people like sharing content between social networks!
The good thing is that Latitude will support automatic checkins, well sort of, it will pickup your proximity to venues and automatically prompt you to check in. Never forget to check-in again! Also Google has learned from their Buzz privacy issues and have integrated some key privacy options from the get-go which seem to be very customisable.
Overall I think it is too early to tell if this is a hit or miss, with 10 million Latitude users, Google will have a large customer base to try out this new service, even if it is currently limited to Android users only. Let’s see how this will change the geolocation market and how other services will adapt to stay ahead.