Google Maps for Android has been updated to 5.1 today. What’s the big news for this update? Check-ins, my friends. Yes, Google has (some would say “finally”) adopted the one major feature that makes other apps like Foursquare and Gowalla so popular.
The three major features to Latitude’s new check-in feature are as follows:
- Notifications: Turn on check-in notifications in Latitude’s settings and get a notification to check in at a nearby place once you arrive. Never forget to check in again.
- Automatic check-ins: Choose to automatically check in at specific places you designate, and you’ll be checked in when you’re there. You can talk to friends or finish your bagel without fumbling with your phone.
- Check out: Once you leave, Latitude knows to automatically check you out of places so friends aren’t left guessing if you’re still there.
These features go a little bit beyond what is offered by competitors, especially when considering how infused they are with Google Maps. Thankfully, if you don’t want any of these new features, you can disable what looks to be all of them in the Maps settings screen. If you do opt-in for check-ins though, you will be able to acquire titles like “regular”, “VIP” or “Guru” and easily keep track of who of your friends has checked in where.
While I personally don’t use Latitude my own self — mostly because it drains the battery on my EVO faster than if I don’t use it — I’m actually quite tempted to try this out. What about you?
UPDATE: Google has made a video available showing off the new features, catch it below.