Google has launched a new feature in the firm’s Google Maps 5.1 for Android devices which enables users to check into real locations.
The Google Latitude service enables smartphone owners to update friends with physical location sharing, making use of GPS and mobile phone cell-tower location. Now these positions can be connected to a named location.
"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," wrote Google engineer Joe LaPenna on the Google blog.
LaPenna gave a personal example, saying that check-ins enabled his friends to "see the cool restaurant I’m trying in Taipei or join me for a latte at the cafe nearby."
The new feature has the capability to automatically check-in users to specific places designated by the user and check them out when they leave.
Google also said that checking in at locations provided the ability earn a ‘special status’ such as VIP or Guru on the place page for the location, suggesting that the internet giant is looking for ways to encourage interaction with place names and the advertising potential.
A complete history of check-ins would be available later in the week, Google said.