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updated 9/7/2011 1:49:11 PM ET 2011-09-07T17:49:11

More than a quarter of all American adults are using mobile or social location-based services to get directions, recommendations and to check-in to local places on social networking sites, but it’s most popular among smartphone owners, younger users and minorities, a new study suggests.

The Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project found that 28 percent of U.S. adults are already using mobile and social-location based services. The report is based on the results of a nationally representative telephone survey of 2,277 American adults (ages 18 and older), with a margin of error of two percent.

The study found, however, that a much smaller number (5 percent of cellphone owners) use their phones to check in to locations using geo-social services such as Foursquare or Gowalla. Smartphone owners are especially likely to use these services on their phones, with 12 percent doing so.

One in ten smartphone owners (12 percent) have used a geosocial (“check in”) service such as Foursquare or Gowalla, and 55 percent of smartphone owners have used a location-based information service.

Almost six in ten smartphone owners (58 percent) use at least one of these services, which is well above the average for cellphone owners as a whole, the report found.

Smartphone owners ages 18 to 49 are also more likely than those over 50 to use either geosocial or location-based services on their phones. There are no significant differences among social media users by age in regard to automatic location-tagging, Pew said.

About nine percent of Internet users are also linking up their social media, including Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn, so that their location is automatically included in their posts on those services.

In addition, the report said that geo-social services and automatic location-tagging are most popular with minorities, continuing a trend of mobile connectivity that has been seen in other Pew Internet surveys.

Hispanics are the most active in these two activities, with a quarter (25 percent) of Latino smartphone owners using geo-social services and almost a third (31 percent) of Latino social media users enabling automatic location-tagging.

However, though only seven percent of white smartphone owners use geo-social services, 59 percent get location-based information on their phones, compared with 53 percent of blacks and 44 percent of Hispanics.

© 2012 TechNewsDaily

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