Will Google Latitude Oust Foursqaure?

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With the geo-tagging sub-sector of social networking hotting up all the time, more and more new players are coming to the fore to challenge the now well established market leader, Foursqaure. The New-York based start up revealed impressive growth throughout 2010 but is coming under threat from all angles, and while newcomers like Gowalla attempt to steal market share, it does in fact seem that it is the big players in digital who are the ones likely to steal Foursqaure’s crown.

The Pro’s of Foursquare

Facebook Places debuted in the UK last Autumn, boasting a service that allows users to check-in in to Work places, shops, cafes, bars, nightclubs or whatever other existing of self-added physical loaction they chose to share with their friends. Places lacks the ‘game’ aspect of Foursqure, with which users earn points for check-ins, but the massive, established pool of users gives it a huge advantage over its rival.

Both Facebook and Foursquare feature a incentive to be vigilant with all those check ins, ‘Deals’ and ‘Special Offers’ respectively. This means that by checking in either once or a certain number of times within a given time period, users can earn money off products and services, the advantage for businesses being they are effectively getting free advertising each time a user publishes a checkin-in on their feed.

So Foursqure and Facebook are happily duking it out, but we all know that nothing in digital stays the same for long and it seems a new challenger has stepped into the ring. Enter Google Latitude. Google in the past have unceremoniously failed in their attempts at trendy social networks, but it seems like their new bare bones, simplistic approach with tools the the upcoming +1 and Latitude seems like it’s onto a winner.

The Pro’s of Google Latitude

Although Latitude has been around since 2009, recent updates to the mobile app and it’s added compatibility with other digital services now make it a whole lot more useful. So how it is it any better than Foursquare or Facebook Places? Well, Latitude not only features check-ins but allows the tracking of friends in real-time using their GPS enabled smart-phones. This means that if you so wish, you can your friends can keep track of exactly where you all are at any point in time.

Of course the usual features such as a friend list is present, and the amount of locations is neater and more standardized, since most are already known by the Google Geoloaction API, this means you don’t get so many messy additions to the lists of places such as ‘mY hOuSe LOL’. Of course there are implications to making your exact location public knowledge which need to be carefully considered before making individuals privy to this kind of sensitive information.

The Con’s of Google Latitude

With Foursquare you can create new venue but in Latitude you do not have that option. Foursquare also provides vendor special offers but with Google Latitude there are no vendor specials. Also you cannot share your check-ins outside of the Latitude platform like facebook and twitter.

So will Latitude replace Foursqaure? While it features real-time geo-tracking arther than just tagging, this may be a little too intrusive for many, and Google’s offering lacks the ‘game’ aspect and key but currently under-utilized ‘special offers’ tie-in with local businesses. The geo-location sector is still maturing however and whichever company comes out on top, it’s likely that its product will contain all the best aspects of the current offerings.

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Vishal Gaikar

Article by Vishal

I am Vishal Gaikar, Software Engineer, Web Addicted, Living in Maharashtra, India. If you like This post, you can follow Tricks Machine on Twitter, also you can add me on Google+.

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  • HKR

    Nice post. I still think Google will improve.
    By the way TinyMCE crashes with CommentLuv. Users have to un-check Commentluv and check again for it to work. I faced the same problems. 2 options : disable TinyMCE or disable the “commentluv on by default” option.

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