Google Latitude adds check-in option
Google has added a new feature to its location-sharing platform, Latitude, allowing users to check in at shops, businesses and landmarks.
The update means people using the service to share their location with their friends can now announce their arrival at any location listed on Google Maps.
The move has been widely anticipated, as check-ins are prominent features in other similar services, such as Foursquare.
Google says that more than 10 million people are using Latitude. These users will now be able to set automatic check-ins at particular locations, set reminders and check-out automatically when they leave.
The upgrade will open new social media marketing opportunities for Google and the various businesses listed on Google Maps. Check-ins have for some time been a core feature of Foursquare, which is perhaps the highest-profile location-sharing platform.
Foursquare can be a great marketing tool for bricks and mortar businesses. The service encourages members to collect badges and they can even become mayor of a particular location if they are the most frequent visitor during a given period. If, for example, you run a coffee shop, you can encourage customers to visit more often, earn a badge and become mayor with targeted special offers and discounts.
Foursquare is very big in the US, but is far from the only show in town when it comes to sharing your location. Twitter users can choose to add their location to their tweets and members of Facebook can update their network to tell them where they are as well as what they're doing.