Despite being the first to enter the shopping and location categories, Google has taken a backseat thus far to Facebook and start-up Foursquare. Google Shopper, which was available on Android from last year, is now available on the iPhone as well. The application now offers buyers a fast, simple and effective way to find products they want.
At the same time, Google has also announced check-ins to their location based service Latitude, which means that it finally has the option to leverage the service in a manner similar to Facebook and Foursquare. Google was amongst the first companies to enter the location space, but took far longer to introduce check-ins, which has allowed competition from Foursquare and Facebook to get a headstart, but the company hopes to make up for it by adding a few new functions.
For Shopper, like with the Android product, one can find products based on text, voice or barcode recognition to get price comparisons online, along with guides on how to buy it from a nearby location as well.
The app will also display ratings based on user reviews and you can even save the items to share with your friends on Facebook, Twitter or Google Reader.
Meanwhile, in Latitude, you don’t just show your location on a map anymore, but can check in at specific businesses or other locations. As Google Latitude engineer, Joe LaPenna, blogged, “Until today, sharing my location, let friends and family know if I was across the globe or in their neighborhood. Now, check-ins let them see the cool restaurant I’m trying in Taipei or join me for a latte at the cafe nearby.”
This also benefits advertisers – knowing a person’s location on the map is not nearly as useful as knowing if they are spending their time at a coffee shop or at a book store. At the same time, Latitude will now allow mobile users to set up automatic check-ins when they arrive at a designated location, and another new concept is check-outs, when you leave a location.