Location-Based Services: Nascent, But Growing

In its first report on the use of "geosocial" or location-based
services, the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life
project finds that four percent of online adults use a service such as
Foursquare or Gowalla that allows them to share their location with
friends and to find others who are nearby. On any given day, one
percent of Internet users are using these services, according to the
Pew’s research.

The report is based on the results of a telephone survey by the Pew
Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project conducted
Aug. 9 – Sept. 13, 2010. The survey was administered to a
sample of 3,001 adults, age 18 and older, using a combination of
landline and cellular telephones.

This is the second survey of the Pew Internet Project to ask about such
location-based services. The current number shows little change from
the first time this question was asked, in a May 2010 survey, when five
percent of adult Internet users said they had used such a site.

Location-based services such as Foursquare and Gowalla use Internet-connected mobile devices’ geolocation capabilities to let
users notify others of their locations by "checking in" to that
location. Location-based services often run on stand-alone software
applications (apps) on most major GPS-enabled smartphones or other
devices. Some of these geosocial services emphasize social networking
functions, and can notify friends on the service when the user is

Eight percent of
all online adults ages 18-29 use location-based services, significantly
more than online adults in any other age group.

"Wireless Internet users, unsurprisingly, are also more likely to use
location-based services, especially those who connect to the Internet
with their cell phone," wrote report authors Kathryn Zickuhr and Aaron
Smith. "Seven percent of all adults who go online with their mobile
phone say they use a location-based service, as well as five percent of
all wireless Internet users."

The report found that 62 percent of online adults use a social
networking site such as Facebook, MySpace, or LinkedIn. Of these social
networking site users, six percent employ a location-based service.
Twenty-four percent of online adults use Twitter or another service to
share updates about themselves or to see updates about others, while 10
percent of these status update site users use a location-based
service–more than twice the rate of the general online population.

For more, read the eWeek article Location-Based Services Used by 4% of Americans: Pew Study.

CIO Insight Staff
CIO Insight Staff
CIO Insight offers thought leadership and best practices in the IT security and management industry while providing expert recommendations on software solutions for IT leaders. It is the trusted resource for security professionals who need network monitoring technology and solutions to maintain regulatory compliance for their teams and organizations.

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