If you happen to be an Android mobile device user then perhaps you noticed that Google recently rolled out an update to the Google Maps mobile app for Android… or perhaps not.
The app boasts a number of updated features including better battery performance but perhaps most noticeably you’ll get a real kick out of the new checkin functionality.
The service provides the familiar checkin capabilities that we all love or hate to use, however, it has much more than that. For the gaming experience there’s a leader board, you know, who’s checked in most etc… Foursquare has this and for me anyway, it’s likely the most boring and useless part of foursquare… sorry but I really don’t care if I’m leading in checkins, and quite frankly, if I am a leader amongst my contacts then I think I’d be a little concerned that I need to get a life!
Moving on, the app really is quite interesting. Here’s how it works. Load up gMaps and locate yourself (make sure GPS is enabled). Then, using the drop-down menu in the top left corner, drop down the options that are available to you. In the middle you’ll notice an option to Checkin. Maps will search a POI database nearby (another example of why a business MUST get listed and verify their listing in Google Places) and present a number of options, optionally you can search if your place doesn’t appear near the top (handy in congested urban areas). I was interested to notice that when I load the checkin while at home, Google maps geocodes my location and accurately presents my home address as an option, although I don’t think I’ll checkin from my home! Select a place, I’ll pick a nearby cafe as an example, add a comment (the dialog is exactly what you see when you use G+ to make a post from your mobile, and checkin. Note, when checking in you have a number of sharing options that you can set including: share with your G+ circles, share with Latitude friends, or make public… this is cool! And here’s something quite cool, you can optionally enable maps to automatically check you in to this venue in the future when you are nearby or remind you to checkin the next time you come here.
Finally, once you checkin you are shown stats of the leaderboard, this is the gaming element to Google Maps checkin, and then you can proceed to the Google Place listing page of the venue. I really like this, particularly as I frequently lookup Google places via this information. From this page you can read reviews, add a review, add a photo, rate the place, link through to their website, view it on a map, or call them… very nice and I’m afraid I have to say that this is much more useful for me as a visitor to a venue than the place information I see when I do a foursquare checkin.
The new look for Google Maps Mobile on Android
Great stuff from Google Maps on Android.
For business owners this is a HUGE reason to make sure you secure ownership of your Place listing on Google maps and make sure your information is relevant and up to date! See http://www.google.com/places/
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