A few weeks ago, just in time for SXSW, Google launched check-in offers for Latitude, its location-based service and social network. At the time, these offers were only available at a limited set of places in Austin – the home of SXSW – but starting today, users of Google’s Latitude Android and iPhone apps will be able to get discounts and earn status by checking in to their favorite stores (assuming they participate in this program).
Here are some of the vendors that are currently participating in this program:
- American Eagle Outfitters: Up to 20% off your total purchase
- Quiznos: Free sub when you buy a sub of equal or greater value
- Arby’s: Free regular roast beef sandwich with purchase of a 22 oz. drink
- RadioShack: Up to 20% off qualifying, in-store purchases
- Finish Line: Save $10 on purchases over $50
- Macy’s (Coming soon)
With regards to earning status, Google is actually putting an interesting spin on the virtual badges category by using a system that is similar to most frequent-flier programs. By default, users can earn three different levels of status: regular, VIP and guru, though partners will also be able to create their own levels.
It’s not clear when Google will allow local merchants to create their own offers, though a self-serve model is surely part of Google’s roadmap for this service.