While Google Maps is a widely used service, Google Latitude is widely unused and Google Latitude Check-in is widely unknown. Nevertheless, following Foursquare's example, Google is now rewarding points for check-ins. Released one year ago as a Google Latitude enhancement, Google Check-in allows users connect the current location to a real place by checking in there using Latitude. While Latitude can still be used to automatically update and share locations with friends and Google Plus, check-ins let you add context to the location - like captions to a photo. Latitude is built right into Google Maps for Android so check-ins work across Latitude and Maps seamlessly.
After a location check-in Google Latitude now shows how many points you got for the check-in and shows your check-in in comparison to your Google Plus contacts and Latitude connections. Furthermore, Google offers a Leaderboard with statistics for the current week, last week and all time highs. But it seems that this Leaderboard is not yet accessible without a check-in, letting users in the dark where they rank without checking-in to a location.
It seems Google is cooking something in the background which is nevertheless feature-wise not yet ready for prime-time. The only question left is if Google Check-in will drive users away from Foursquare and Facebook anytime soon?
Cheers ~ Arne