Google took aim at Foursquare on Thursday with the addition of checkin rewards for its Latitude app for Google Maps, while replacing 'mayors' with "gurus" and "VIPs".
Google's location class warfare didn't stop there: there are a poor, middle, and elite class under Google's hierarchy, known as "Regulars," "VIPs," and "Gurus," respectively. Users who check in for the first time might not receive any special designation.
Users will need to update to Google Maps 5.2 via the Android Market, join Latitude, then tap "check in here" from the menu. Google said a version for the iPhone would be coming soon.
The new rewards will be rolled out - where else? - at the South by Southwest Interactive (SXSWi) show in Austin, Texas this weekend, where discounts will be offered at restaurants, bars, and other venues around the downtown area.
The new checkins scheme provides a sort of game-like approach to rewards, with additional checkins propelling users to new social rankings - and new discounts, to boot. "Footprint" icons let users track their progress. As an example, a restaurant could offer a free drink to a regular, free breadsticks to a VIP, and possibly a free dessert to a "guru".
Google began offering checkins on Latitude in February.
Make no mistake, we are huge fans of TripIt, and have been using the trip managing site for two years now. I’d always wondered when I would be able to pay for the excellent service, and that answer came with today’s launch of TripIt Pro. TripIt Pro, first and foremost, stays on top of your flight plans and sends you text messages about flight delays, cancellations, and even gate changes (which is awesome.) In the event that a delay will mean you missing a connecting flight, TripIt will even let you know of alternate flights that will get you to your destination, including flight status and what seats are available. As you can see, TripIt is definitely trying to bring it with TripIt Pro.
According to the company, another much-requested feature has been added, that being a point tracker that keeps track of frequent flyer miles and hotel points that you rack up during travel. It’s nice to have that in your travel dashboard. Lastly, there is the Inner Circle, which basically let’s you set other specific TripIt members as contacts who can always view any of your itineraries, helpful for those of us with spouses or office assistants, where it would be helpful for them to just get those details without any action needed to be taken on your own.
TripIt Pro will cost $99 per year, and at that price, is well worth it if you travel often. Even better, though, is that from now through July 31, you can sign up and pay just $49 per year. If you sign up now, you will stay on a $49 per year price for every renewal period, until you cancel the service.
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Okay Mind Campers, we have a bit of a treat for you. The Blog Business Summit conference is happening here in Seattle at the Bell Harbor Conference Center from October 25-27th. We were able to get special discounted rate for anyone who wants to attend. Simply put, if you would like to mingle with the major movers and shakers in the blogging world, this is the place to be. By using our link and coupon code, you will get a $100 discount off of the entrance fee. Here are the details:
Head on over to The Blog Business Summit and click on “Register Now” at the top of the page. During the checkout process, enter coupon code AESM06 to receive the $100 discount.
If you know anyone else who may be interested in attending, feel free to forward this information to them!
PayPal is an easy way to deploy e-commerce for your website. As easy as it is for a non-technical person to deploy, there are many situations where a little extra know how is needed. Instead of reading the manuals or cruising the developer boards filled with over 10,000 posts, you can read “Happy About Website Payments with PayPal”. It’s easy-to-read and full of tips and techniques that can be applied immediately. If you want to make more money with PayPal, this is the place to start. If you want to know what’s in this book and judge how relevant it will be for you, download this eBook. Best part, it’s free.
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