San Francisco, US: Google has entered into location-based services (LBS) arena with check-in feature in its LBS product, Latitude. The feature lets people with GPS-enabled Android smartphones share their whereabouts with selected friends. The new Latitude service works with a 5.1 version of Google Maps for devices running on Android software. Social networking websites like Facebook, Foursquare and Gowalla are already offering such services.
Joe LaPenna, software engineer at Google, said, “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.”
Unlike other smartphone check-in services, Latitude can use satellite postioning capabilities of handsets to automatically update where people are, according to LaPenna.
Meanwhile, considering as a big leap, Foursquare made an alliance with BBC America. It will allow Foursquare users to ‘check-in’ at more than 100 sports bars in the US and at certain locations in the six host countries – England, France, Ireland, Italy, Scotland and Wales – where they can watch the games and unlock a special BBC America ‘virtual badge.’ The channel has teamed up with Foursquare for a promotion around its coverage of the upcoming Six Nations rugby championship.
Last week, Foursquare announced that its ranks grew by 3,400 percent in the past year and that it now has more than six million registered users. Foursquare and rival Gowalla let people log their locations by “checking in” from where they are at any given moment using smartphones or other Internet-linked devices.
Facebook last year released a Places and Deals applications that let members use smartphones to share their whereabouts with friends and get rewarded with notifications regarding deals at nearby shops or restaurants.
Facebook Places marked the firm’s first step into location-based services that have been catching on with the popularity of smartphones.
Location-based services have proven potential when it comes to targeting advertising or promotions that users happen to be near.
Source: AFP & C21media