Location matters to mobile Americans: report
Sep. 6, 2011 at 1:26 PM ET
Screenshot from Gowalla Android app
A recently released Pew report shows that, more than ever, Americans are using their phones to not only let people know where they are (and what they're doing), but also to find out where to go next.
The poll, done from April to May with more than 2,200 participants, revealed that more than a quarter of all American adults — 28 percent — do at least one of the following activities online or using their mobile phones:
- 28 percent of cellphone owners use them "to get directions or recommendations based on their current location" (23 percent of all adults).
- A much smaller number (5 percent of cellphone owners, which is about 4 percent of all adults) "use their phones to check in to locations using geosocial services such as Foursquare or Gowalla." See the graph below to see how much more smartphone owners are likely to use these services, but this stat stands out: 55 percent of smartphone owners have used a location-based information service. And this: "Almost six in ten smartphone owners use at least one of these services."
- For all those concerns about privacy and fears about letting strangers know they're not home and/or out and about, 9 percent of Internet users "set up social media services such as Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn so that their location is automatically included in their posts on those services. That works out to 7 percent of all adults." They tend to be men, minorities, those whose income is less than $30,000 per year and those whose highest education level is high school.
There is at least one less service that location-prone mobile users can use: the mobile-only Places feature, phased out in place of more general location-tagging.
And, while it seems more are comfortable with automatic location-tagging, the hubbub in the spring on this very issue shows that it's still a touchy subject to many.
Check out Technolog on Facebook, and on Twitter, follow Athima Chansanchai, who is also trying to keep her head above water in the Google+ stream.