But how many people actually use it?
As part of their Internet and American Life Project, Pew Research has released statistics suggesting that a less-than-expected 28% of all American adults use GPS or location-based services for recommendations or directions. 7% of all adults set up their social media services to automatically report on their location whenever they post on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or otherwise, and a mere 4% of all adults use ‘geosocial services’ such as FourSquare to report on their own current location.
Kathryn Zickuhr, co-author of the Pew report, attributes these low percentages to our unwillingness to adopt location based services to lay bare our whereabouts, due to increased concern over privacy. In fact, Facebook recently did away with its ‘Places’ featurewhich allowed those on smartphones to report their current location via the social network’s recent news feed with links to the place of interest.
According to a PC World article on the Pew findings, “the number of people using check-in services worldwide appears to be growing. Foursquare, launched in March 2009, now claims more than 10 million users worldwide. The service also appears to have the confidence of investors after recently securing another $50 million in venture capitalfunding. Gowalla had about 600,000 users as of late 2010, according to a number of reports.”
Obviously conflicts in interpretation of the study exist.
A CNN report concerning the Pew findings assumes that many smartphone users simply neglect location-based features due to the GPS’ ability to sap one’s battery relatively quickly. Obviously remedied with one of our fantastic cell phone chargers.
For the most part as to why location-based adoption is so low, it could simply be a matter of not knowing how to participate in the services offered, or a matter of priorities: More savvy smartphone users may decide to shut off such services until they truly need it. After all, a smartphone isn’t the most energy-efficient device.