Google+ Threatens Foursquare with New Check-In Leaderboard

One of the first things that people usually ask Foursquare users is ‘why do you care?’  In fact, this is what people usually ask people that play FarmVille or CityVille, or even Tweet.  We live in a digital world where people usually have to eat their own snap judgments within a few weeks because they delve deeper into the technology and find some interesting use.

So, in that vein, while location-based services and check-ins may not have been a big deal to Google before, it is now — they just released a Google+ check-in leaderboard with their newest version of Google Maps for Android.

The news was first broken by Engadget, who noticed that Google had included the update without even letting anyone know.  The update was rolled out with the latest Google Maps update and is part of the ‘Latitude’ feature, which lets people update their location to anyone else using Latitude.  The service wasn’t much of a hit and nobody was using it, even though it would be very cool to look at a map and see your friends walking around the city in real time.

More people may start using the service now, though, because you can check in to a location now and get some points, and you’re added to a Google+ leaderboard showing the top users who’ve checked in to various places.  It actually sounds like fun and may be the right fit for Google+ at this point, which seems like more of a playground than an actual social network.

It definitely seems like Google is just opening up all sorts of fun pathways into its Google+ ecosystem, and this is another fun one that I’ll definitely check out, giving me one more reason to try the service more often than I do.  As I often say, if Facebook were to commit a major faux pas like selling all my information or having a database crash, I think I’d probably give Google+ a try before jumping back to FB.  What do you think?