Google has finally added full check-in capabilities to its Latitude product, following in the footsteps of Foursquare, Gowalla, Yelp, Facebook, and others that have been doing check-ins for some time now. Latitude has been a tool that lets one user share his/her location with friends, but now it goes further and allows users to check-in to specific businesses and locations.
But Google’s check-in system comes with a few twists compared to similar services:
- Latitude can send reminders to check-in at locations when you arrive.
- Latitude supports automated check-ins at places you choose.
- Latitude automatically checks you out when you leave the location.
Those are convenient features that check-in fans will enjoy. But, Latitude check-ins are also missing a couple other features common to competing services:
- Users can’t currently add new locations to Latitude. It relies on the database of locations from Google Places.
- Users can’t share their locations on social networks like Facebook or Twitter (something many Twitter/Facebook users probably hope is a feature that’s never added).
Perhaps the biggest thing missing from Latitude check-ins is the iPhone. Google’s blog post says the feature is currently only to Android users with Google Maps 5.1 for Android. But Google says that’s coming soon.
It’s also odd that Latitude check-ins aren’t (yet?) more closely tied to Google Hotpot, the local/social recommendation tool that Google has been promoting heavily since its launch a couple months ago.