Google’s spicing up the competition in its location-based check-in service, and taking Foursquare head on.
Google has quietly added a points system and Leaderboard feature to Latitude, which ties in to Google Maps and Google +.
Those familiar with Foursquare will find that Leaderboard offers a very similar experience: Search for a location in Google Maps, check in, share it with Google + friends and earn a point for just showing up.
After checking in, you can see how you stack up against your friends on the Leaderboard. As in Foursquare, you earn points for specific check-ins. Google did not respond to ABC News’ request for an explanation of the new point system.
Users can limit who can view where they are checking-in and decide what friends they want to share their location with. Google, however, does add the following disclaimer: “Your points may be visible to other Google+users, making it easier to find friends and play together.”
The service will be available on Google’s Android operating system first, and while the update hasn’t yet rolled out to all Google Map users, some already see it in the updated version. No word yet as to whether it will be heading to the iPhone or iPad.
The service is a move by Google to better integrate its Google+ social network with Maps, giving it some steam to take on already popular services like Foursquare, Facebook and Path. Foursquare in particular has a similar competitive element, including a point system.
But Foursquare isn’t worried about the new competition. “There are over 15 million people using Foursquare, and they’ve checked in over 1.5 billion times,” Erin Gleason, a Foursquare spokesperson, told ABC News. “Far from concentrating on what others are doing, we’re 100 percent focused on continuing to build an amazing product that changes the way people experience the world around them.”
Either way, it looks like Google and Foursquare are about to compete on their very own Leaderboard.