The percentage of users checking in with a location-based service increases to 7 percent when users go online with their mobile phone, according to the report. But only 6 percent of individuals who use social networking sites also use location-based services.
Demographics of Check-in Users
Two demographic pieces of information are interesting: (1) For the 18-29 age group, usage of location-based services is 8 percent, significantly more than any other adult age group. (2) Usage of location-based services by online Hispanics is 10 percent, significantly more than usage by online blacks (5 percent) and online whites (3 percent).
The report is based on the results of a telephone survey conducted by the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project between August 9 and September 13, 2010 with 3,000 adults age 18 or older. Pew is a nonpartisan, non-profit research organization that is well respected for its research into the social implications of the Internet.
The report’s co-author, Kathryn Zickuhr, says that the profile of the users suggests they are typical of early adopters of new technology. But she also says, “It is possible that Facebook will help bring location into the mainstream.”
The First Mover Risk
If we step back and consider what’s going on here, it looks like another case of innovation leading the market – not necessarily a bad thing. Foursquare and others forged ahead, opening new territory and creating an initial buzz. It will take some time, however, for the market to heat up. Obviously, location-based services make the most sense when they’re linked to a mobile device. In the U.S., mobile users are just now catching up with the rest of the world. The larger the smartphone user base, the more likely such services will increase in popularity.
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