May 11, 2012

More Adults Uses Location-Based Services On Smartphone

According to a report by Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project, 74 percent of smartphone owners use their phone to get real-time location-based information.

The report found that not only are the majority of users using location-based applications, but 18 percent are using geosocial services like Foursquare to "check in" to a location to share with their friends.

The study said that over the past year, smartphone ownership among U.S. adults has jumped from 35 percent to 46 percent.

The overall proportion of U.S. adults who get location-based information has almost doubled over the past year, from 23 percent in May 2011, to 41 percent in February 2012.

According to Pew, the percentage of U.S. adults using geosocial services like Foursquare has risen from four percent in 2011 to 10 percent in 2012.

"We've watched mobile phones become increasingly entwined in people's everyday activities, and location-based services are an important part of that," report author Kathryn Zickuhr wrote. "Smartphones' geolocation abilities are clearly popular with their users, who can get the information they want exactly when and where they want it."

The Pew study also looked at how often smartphone owners in the U.S. use their devices to get directions or to get general location-based information like restaurant recommendations.

A recent survey by Pew found that 65 percent of smartphone owners say they use their device to get turn-by-turn driving directions, and 15 percent do so on a daily basis.

The climb in location services has some critics worried about privacy issues, and has prompted lawmakers to consider creating blocks to protect privacy of people who use these services.

Earlier this week, Senator Al Franken asked the Department of Justice for details on how it obtains and uses personal location data amidst reports that state and local officials are securing GPS data without a warrant.

The overall use of smartphone users using their devices for location-based services was up 20 percent compared to last year.

Pew said it surveyed over 2,000 adults in 2011, and again in 2012, and believed its resutls have a margin error of 2.3 percentage points.


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