14 May, 2010
Written by Dexter Han
Beijing RayooTech Co., Ltd.
Think about it: May be telling your friends that you’re eating a turkey sandwich at the deli down the avenue is the most "interesting" fad of the moment, and Google wants the biggest slice of the cake. At the Web 2.0 Expo, Google pointed out that it would be improving its Latitude service to give other location-based time-wasters — like the achingly obnoxious Foursquare — a management for their money. Now as Facebook has cooperrated with McDonald’s to develop a similar tracking system, this creepy battle was just about to begin.
Google Latitude was put to use last year and has owned 3 Mln users, but most of them had largely been forgotten. 3 Mln is a vigorous number, but there is something worth mentioning that 1/4 of Latitude users have no friends at all, that means no one cares about where you’re arriving at. While Foursquare boasts 1 Mln users, and after Yahoo has failed the attempt at purchasing the application from Dennis Crowley for over 1 Bln USD, Foursquare has got the public’s full attention.
Google definitely wants to change this situation. Learning the successful experience from Foursquare, the updated Latitude would contain a check-in feature and a supporting location history scheme. And count on the preponderance on map data, Latitude could add locations automatically, whereas Foursquare requires users’input.
But Latitude’s biggest obstacle toward mass-popularity is iPhone. Although Google has built a Latitude app, but Apple — who essentially hates Google — abandon it from the App Store. The other competitors, like the 2-million-strong MyTown, have been warmly welcomed into Apple’s arms, painting Latitude the wallflower.
If you, like most commoners, really care about turkey sandwiches, Latitude’s evolution is worth keeping an eye on. Otherwise you can enjoy yourself with some awesome old-fashioned restraining orders.
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