Personally, I love when Pew does these reports. Why? Because my sense is that they are as unbiased as this kind of research can be so I feel like I may be getting the truth. At least as close to the truth as I can get in the research world.
That said, Pew has released a study called “4% of online Americans use location-based services” Pretty straightforward. That 4% represents those using a service like foursquare or Gowalla. The 1% on any given day represents how many are using the services at any time. Here is a breakdown of how likely someone is to use such a service.
Some quick math shows that the total number of people claiming to use location-based services at would be 12,280,000 (4% of 307 million people in US according to the US Census Bureau) and on any given day that number goes down to just over 3 million.
Not exactly numbers that indicate widespread use but the industry is gearing up for the phenomenon nonetheless. Is it possible that the gearing up for these services may be in anticipation of a crowd that may not get much bigger? Will this be more of a niche play than a widely adopted practice?
Personally, I would have had to answer that I have used a location-based service. You would have to get pretty lucky, though, to see me even using it on any given day because although I have used them, I rarely do anything with them now. Why? Because I don’t care to announce my presence anywhere to everyone even if they are my friends.
I will say, however, that if there is a real move to getting deals and savings as a result of ‘checking in’ on my Android device then I am willing to consider it. But in this scenario, I am already predisposed to the technology so I have a smaller barrier to cross. Going from 0-60 with users who are new to the location game will likely be a slow-go.
Overall, while there is a lot of very giddy chatter amongst the Internet industry’s glitterati regarding the future of these location based services, I might recommend they step outside their circle of early adopters more often and hear the crickets. Or maybe they just lay off the industry Kool-Aid long enough to sober up and take a realistic view of the current market and the likely speed of its adoption?
Last piece of data from Pew on this subject. The hot 18-29 group that is the first generation to be exposed to these tech things at an age where they are less set in their ways, claim 8% of those surveyed use location based services.
Is it me or does that seem like a much smaller group than the industry hype would indicate?
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