By: Hillel Fuld (@hilzfuld)
As the world of mobile technology progresses and the sensors built-in to the average smartphone advance, the services to accompany these capabilities continue to pop up. Location services are a perfect example. I mean, what smartphone does not have the ability to track you in real-time using GPS and other built-in sensors and chips? Not many…
Well, as far as location goes, 2012 is expected to be the year in which sharing your location becomes more like updating your status. Meaning, by the end of this year, everyone will be doing it. Foursquare, as much as I use the service daily, is far from becoming a mainstream service, despite its 15 million active users.
I guess a good way to jump-start location-based services is for Google to go all in and it looks like that is exactly what is about to happen. While Google’s location service, Latitude, is nothing new, Google just released a new version of its Maps app for Android with a few minor features and one relative major one.
The new version of Maps includes a leaderboard for Latitude check-ins, which is obviously a play to compete with the king of location, Foursquare. What is interesting to note is that in the list of features that Google names for the new app, there is no mention of the leaderboard.
The only mention Google made of the new leaderboard can be found here. As you can see, the company is not exactly yelling about the new feature from the rooftops.
In fact, the leaderboard is not even showing up for all Latitude users and for the fortunate few, the only way to get to it is by checking in to a location. Once you check in, the Maps app redirects you to the leaderboard where you can see how you rank compared to other global Google+ users.
I am not sure what the secrecy is about but I am thinking it won’t be long before we see true location integrated into Google+, which would put Google, once again, right up against Facebook with its Facebook Places.