10 million users can now add context to their locations.
Google has announced a new feature for its Latitude social location service: check-ins.
Yes, that's right. Latitude originally launched without check-ins, since its unique selling point was the ability for users' location to be continuously tracked without them needing to pull their phone out to check in, Foursquare-style.
The new feature is initially in Google Maps 5.1 for Android. "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," explains software engineer Joe LaPenna.
Users can opt to be reminded to check-in when they arrive somewhere, while Latitude can also automatically check them in to their designated favourite places. The app can also check them out when they leave.
Foursquare-style bragging is also possible, since users can achieve Regular, VIP or Guru status at their preferred haunts, with Latitude tying into Google's Places service.
LaPenna says this is just the start. "We’re working on making location and check-ins useful in more places—across Google and the web." With competition from Facebook Places and Foursquare, we suspect Latitude's check-ins will soon be integrated with Google's upcoming Groupon-style offers service too.