Not to say that location isn't useful and transformative, especially when mixed with "social". But stuff like dodgeball / foursquare / brightkite / latitude are braindead ways of doing it.
Here is how it should work:
Location data goes into your XMPP status, right next to your "away" status, using XMPP XEP-0080. It can be kept up to date with either your preferred IM program, and/or with a specialized one, running on your smartphone/MID (iPhone, iPad, Android, Netbook, Laptop, etc) Location data also can go into Twitter / Status.net / etc updates.
You would then add a "location social" service, such as Foursquare or FireEagle or Latitude, to your IM roster. That service can then IM back to you when a friend of yours is someplace interesting, or a friend of a friend is near you, or tell an advertiser or business that someone with your marketing profile is at some venue, or whatever. If you want to do a specific "checkin", that would be also coded into your XMPP status, or you can send a "checkin" IM message to the location social service.
It scales, it federates, it monetizes, it mashups, it allows consumer choice, it is easy for both programmers and users, it invites trival uptake, it enables many more things to be more easily built on top of it. It requires no to little software to be installed or used by the end users.
It drives me nuts that the Android IM app doesnt implement XEP-0080, and that it appears that Google Talk mangles it. Talk about missing an opportunity!
It drives me nuts that all the various Twitter smartphone clients do not implement the Twitter Geo-Location API. Hint, putting a shortened URL pointing into Google Maps is NOT "geo-location".
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