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Consumers Still Not Convinced They Should Check-In

Location, location, location. As many tech watchers, entrepreneurs, and investors insist, location-based services may represent the next frontier for digital media. Yet, according to new findings from the Pew Research Center, few consumers know it yet.

"The number of people using location-based services like Foursquare and Gowalla remains small, and does not appear to be growing," writes The New York Times, citing Pew's data.

On your average day, a measly 1% of adult U.S. consumers are presently using location-sharing services, according to the Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project. Perhaps more disconcerting, the number of adult consumers who report using location-sharing services at all is down to 4% from 5% in May. (Just 6% of social network users - considered to be the tech savviest consumers -- report having ever used location-based services.)

Under the headline, "Will Location-Based Services Ever Go Mainstream?" GigaOm's Matthew Ingram writes: "The biggest issue for many users, including some friends I have spoken with, is that sharing one's physical location breaches a personal privacy barrier that many people are uncomfortable with, even if it is only being broadcast to one's friends -- and the fact that your friends can tag you at a location through Facebook Places just adds to that uncomfortable feeling."



Finding that nearly twice as many men as women are using these so-called "geo-social" service, Pew's findings suggest that women are especially concerned about safety issues.

According to ReadWriteWeb: "There are a still a good many women out there with safety and privacy concerns regarding these services and two, that fewer women see the value in using these apps."

"With such miniscule numbers, it makes you wonder why companies like Facebook, Yelp, and others are scrambling to get into the location-based check-in scene," writes Thought, "The study's author, Kathryn Zickuhr, makes the point that location-based check-in services are similar in some respects to status-updating sites like Twitter, which also had some pretty miniscule numbers only two years ago."

Also, as The Times notes, "The report's findings may mostly serve as a baseline from which to measure the impact that Facebook will have on location-based services." The top social network, if you hadn't heard, only recently debuted a location-tracking "check-in" feature named Places.

"It is possible that Facebook will help bring location into the mainstream," Kathryn Zickuhr, author of the Pew report, told The Times.

Read the whole story at Pew Reseach et al »

1 comment about "Consumers Still Not Convinced They Should Check-In".
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  1. Diane Dzurochak from NONE, November 5, 2010 at 4:26 p.m.

    As an older technology user, I personally don't think lcoation check-in apps will catch on with people over 40 or 40. By this age, most people have children and busy child/adult social calendars, and are trying to balance life and work with some quality free time still in check. Who has time to tell everyone where you're at? They're thinking about dinner, the homework with the kids, you name it. I would honestly not take the time to check-in all over. I am not that obsessed with my smartphone or my social identity.

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