Marketers may be interested in how Google Latitude check-ins can put their businesses on users' maps.

Earlier this week, Brafton reported that foursquare grew more than 3,000 percent last year, but can a similar Google offering stunt the geosocial service's growth? Marketers may be interested in how Google Latitude check-ins can put their businesses on users' maps.

Google has announced that is now allowing users to check in with Google Latitiude. Latitude is a location data service that lets Google Map users see where their friends are located. Now, users can add more info to their map locations by adding insight on the real places they are visiting with check-ins.

Google explains, “You can still use Latitude to automatically update and share your location, but check-ins let you add context to the location – like captions to a photo.”

The Google Latitude check-ins come with some “twists” that Google presumably expects will give it an edge in the geosocial market, and businesses may find these twists are a boon to brand loyalty. Users can automatically check in at designated locations or opt to receive notifications to check in at nearby venues. Additionally, the company is allowing users to check out so friends in the area are alerted when they have left a building.

Like foursquare, Google has set up a reward system, which designates people who frequently check in as “VIP” or “Regulars” (and it seems special offers for these individuals are given at business owners' discretion).

Plus, Google has synced Latitude check-ins with businesses' Google Places pages. This means consumers will get abundant info about nearby destinations – from user reviews to product listings – when they check in. This may help keep shoppers at a location once they have checked in, working to the advantage of brands that dedicate resources to building their Places pages.

Google says there will be more location-based apps available to users in the near future, and marketers may anticipate that many of them will cater to mobile searchers. Recently, Google announced it will be hiring up to 6,000 new employees this year, and a Wall Street Journal report reveals that the search giant is recruiting app developers.

Katherine Griwert is Brafton's Marketing Director. She's practiced content marketing, SEO and social marketing for over five years, and her enthusiasm for new media has even deeper roots. Katherine holds a degree in American Studies from Boston College, and her writing is featured in a number of web publications.