There’s no doubt that as smartphone usage increases, geo-location is becoming an increasingly important technology in consumers’ day to day lives. The Pew Internet Research Project has come out with a new report showing the growing number of U.S. adults that are leveraging location-based technologies in social and mobile apps. According to Pew, 28% of adults use at least one of location-based service that exist in mobile and social media spaces. The report shows the most popular use case of location-based technology is using mobile phones for maps, directions, or recommendations.
Pew reports that 28% of cell owners use phones to get directions or recommendations based on their current location (that works out to 23% of all U.S. adults). Only 5 percent of cell phone owners user their phone to check-in to locations using apps like Foursquare or Gowalla.
And 9% of internet users incorporate their location into Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn (7% of all adults). And 28% of U.S. adults do at least one of these activities either on a computer or using their mobile phones.
Unsurprisingly, smartphone owners are more likely to use location-based social networks on their phones. One in ten smartphone owners (12%) have used Foursquare, Gowalla, or a similar application and 55% of smartphone owners have used a location-based information service. Almost six in ten smartphone owners (58%) use at least one of these services.
Pew says that younger smartphone owners are more likely to use location-based services in their phone. And Pew says that geosocial services and automatic location-tagging are most popular with minorities. A quarter (25%) of Latino smartphone owners using geosocial services and almost a third (31%) of Latino social media users enabling automatic location-tagging. Pew says that only 7% of white smartphone owners use geosocial services, byt 59% get location-based information on their phones, compared with 53% of blacks and only 44% of Hispanics.
Pew reported nearly a year ago that only 4% of online American adults use location-based services. My guess is that number has increased since last Novemeber.