Thursday, 3 February 2011

Latitude is Not Dead - Checking in is Taking Over the World


As Google introduced Google Buzz back in 2009 they simply delivered it straight past the existing location based service. Back then, the introduction came with a bang an Google put a lot of effort pushing into the location based application segment. Even though Google basically has a monopole on everything location based, one year on Buzz has been sleeping for most of its existence.

Services popping up, mainly Goala and Foursquare raised instead. With it a whole bunch of similar apps like Brightkite and later in 2010 also facebook managed to more or less successfully integrate the location feature into the platform.

Foresquare released some stats last month claiming a growth of 3400% in the past year! Not sure what exactly this means, but generally it can be said that this sort of application is currently very popular amongst smart phone users. What I haven't seen so far are gender stats on how girls and boys compare in the usage of location based self tagging. From my experience, not at all empirical, when ever I check in at a facebook place, there seem to be a lot more boys already checked in at this place than girls. Maybe I am in the wrong place, but maybe its a boys thing.

foursquare stats
Graph taken from foursquare / Honestly, 2010 was just insane. The numbers tell the story better than we can, so we put together this little infographic. (Also, our 6,000,000th user signed up last week!) See similar twitter stats in this earlier post HERE.

Anyway, here comes Google and resurrects Latitude from the dead (see earlier post on the death of Latitude HERE) to play alongside these platforms letting users check in. This, for those who have missed the short earlier live of Latitude, is quite a development from what L was at the beginning. It was a location sharing platform based on location not venue. Al you coud see was the dots of your friends on the map. Of course this was a major inovation back then and it was one of the first large scale applications of this kind. It was cool, but noone understood it. There was just too much negative press and too many concerned voiced tearring it all back down for Google, only to make way for the 'younger' generation of app that are now this successful.

Privacy concerns were at the forefront of the discussion and one of the odd things that was introduced by Google was a reminder message, sent roughly every two weeks to respond to concerns about people knowing the where abouts of a person without his or her knowing. I still receive this message I guess.
Hopefully Google has now stopped sending them, this would clutter the mailboxes of the potentially now growing user group unnecessarily.

New Latitude New Latitude
Images taken from Google Lat Long Blog / See where your friends are on a map and where they’re checking in. Latitude check-ins are built right into Google Maps and Place pages.

The new service lets people check in at locations and also, this is new, check out. There are various options for automatic check in or reminders to check in and so on. I especially like the line in the promotion clip where it says "you can automatically check in, there is no need to interrupt the conversation to let your friends know that you have checked in."

The new app has so far only been released for the new Android 1.6 and runs on the updated Google Maps 5.1 iPhone users can so far only use the updated Latitude version 2.01, where the locations of your friends are visible, but for yourself the check in function is not yet available. More details on the Google Blos Official Blog and Mobile Blog.

1 comment:

swag said...

But it's this kind of navel-gazing behavior that I've eliminated from my life and found so much more freedom and free time. Good luck getting me to go back.