Google quietly added check-ins to Google Latitude, taking on Foursquare in the local check-in game.
Currently Google Latitude users can check-in via their iPhone and Android apps, and view check-ins via their Google Latitude web app and dashboard.
I went through the Google Latitude API to see if an endpoint was added for check-ins, but currently you can only work with a users current location as well as location history.
So for now its just an application feature, but I’m sure its only a matter of time before recording check-ins and pulling a users historical check-ins will be available via the API.
Foursquare has dominated when it comes to local check-in, even remaining on top when challenged by Facebook check-ins.
I’m curious to see what the new Google Latitude feature will do to change Foursquare’s game?
I’ve always been a history buff. If I hadn’t discovered programming in high school I would have ended up going to college for a history degree. In my travels I spend a lot of time walking around finding historical sites and buildings, to learn whatever I can.
When I was in Philadelphia, New York and Boston a couple of weeks I kept stumbling across amazing old buildings, but knew nothing about them. I would check-in using Foursquare in hopes of using the location to find more information about the place, later when online.
I was thinking it would be nice to have a Foursquare like check-in app, where I could look for sites around my location, check in at them and either get more textual information for reading or tap into some sort of audio podcast for listening to historical stories as I walk.
In my research I’ve come across APIs InfoChimps, providing access to Wikipedia articles associated with geographic information, and I’m sure if I looked harder I could find more resources. It would take several APIs like CityGrid for places, Foursquare for check-in, InfoChimps for Wikipedia, and a couple other tools for text to audio and other richer places data to augment what CityGrid offers.
A historical stories mobile app would definitely take some engineering, but its something you could find a wide audience of history buffs to use, and easily monetize using CityGrid mobile advertising. Wish i had more time–let me know if your interested.
Foursquare just took another step with local recommendations by launching a new web version of Foursquare Explore.
Last March during SXSW 2011, Foursquare launched explore for iPhone and Android mobile, allowing users to find things to do nearby, and now has brought this same functionality to the web.
Explore’s suggestions are powered by places you’ve been and frequented, the places your friends have visited, the categories and types of places you prefer, what’s popular with other users, the day of the week, places with great tips, the time of day and a whole bunch of intelligent criteria.
This move by Foursquare shows the power of the checkin and applying your checkins, and your social network’s checkins history toward local recommendations, shaping the places you will go in the future.
The benefits offered by this type of socially driven local recommendations, creates an powerful new set of incentives for mobile users to check-in, one that goes beyond badges and mayor-ship.
Foursquare Explore shows the local check-in has definitely come of age.