Facebook recently released its ‘Places’ product that allows for mobile check in at real-world locations. When you go to a store or bar you can post a status update that includes your location. Twitter has the same functionality.
Google obviously wants to be a big player in the mobile check in space but they seem to be one step behind. Rumour has it that Google are about to invest heavily in millions of mobile devices that they are going to distribute to businesses for free. These devices are said to allow customers to check-in to locations, write reviews and possibly even pay for purchases via Google Checkout.
Let’s say each device only costs $100 to design manufacture and distribute. That’s 100 million dollars. If they make 8 million of these as some people suggest, that’s 800 million dollars. If they cost more than $100, we’re talking about a billion dollar exercise. Google is currently valued at just over $150 billion USD. If the information is credible, that’s a lot of money to be throwing around.
Are businesses owners going to be interested in another device to learn how to use and find time to manage? What’s in it for them? Are Facebook users going to be persuaded not to use their existing mobile devices?
Is Google running scared?