Location Based Services Used by 1% of US Internet Users on Any Given Day

On the heels of Facebook’s announcement of their many different moves to create a mobile platform that includes Deals and expansion of Places into the Android market the Pew Research Center is releasing some interesting data.

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.

Amazon Hooks Up with Facebook For Gift Card Giving

Just in time for the holidays! The ability to spend even more time on Facebook! Amazon would like you to know that you can now send Amazon gift cards directly to your Facebook friends instead of having to use that pesky old email. Neat, huh?

To make sure everyone gets the picture, they’re even running a special Give 5, Get 5 promotion. Give five $1 mp3 gift certificates to five Facebook friends and the first 100,000 users will get a $5 Amazon gift certificate in return.

It’s a pretty smart way to get the masses to do your marketing for you. Five dollars is an amount most people won’t think twice about throwing away and since you’re required to send it to five people (you can’t send $5 to one person), Amazon has assured themselves a wide reach.

Mobile Apps and Browser Use Continue to Rise

For the three month average period ending in September, 234 million Americans ages 13 and older used mobile devices.

That’s a quote from the latest mobile survey conducted by comScore. The study also showed a slow but steady rise in content usage on phones and that’s good news for marketers.

Browser usage went up 2.2% and application downloads were up 2.5%. These numbers still represent less than half of all mobile subscribers but a lot of the difference probably lies in the fact that only 58.7 million people in the U.S. owned smartphones.

23.2% of mobile subscribers say they use their phone to access social networking sites and that’s up 1.8%. Playing games and listening to music also increased but by less than 1%.

Facebook Reveals Deals for iPhone Users

Today Facebook has accelerated its mobile efforts by introducing its Places offering to Android users (but I can’t find the updated app in the market despite claims from Facebook in their press event to the contrary) and it is rolling out a Deals offering to iPhone users of the Places feature.

Both of these moves firmly places (pun intended) Facebook in the lead pack for mobile applications. They have around 200 million mobile users as it is so there is probably not a more ready or more willing harvest that is ripe for the picking.

From the Facebook blog on Deals for the iPhone:

Google Does Privacy Community Service for Buzz Bomb

Google understands better than any company that if you throw enough up against the wall something’s gotta stick. Take a look at the number of projects they are working on at any given time and there are bound to be successes and failures.

One of the most resounding failures of the recent past had been Google Buzz. Not only didn’t anyone truly understand what Google was trying to do with it, thus keeping adoption low, but they also rolled it out with one of the most public privacy gaffes of the Internet era. Earlier this year there was a lot of buzz around Buzz’s privacy starts and stops.

Well, Google has managed to settle a class action suit for an amount of money and a cause that amounts to community service in the privacy industry. SAI Business Insider reports:

Redefining Friends vs Followers

If you search the word “friend” in Google images, you’ll get lots of cute cartoons hugging each other but you also get Facebook logos. Facebook has become so synonymous with the word friend that Webster may have to change the definition in the dictionary.

Think about it. How many people on your Facebook are actually your friends? Friends in the offline sense of the word? Probably not that many. In my case, I’ve had human-to-human contact with less than half the people on my list. Another quarter are people I know virtually well and the others are folks who have popped on for a variety of odd reasons. I don’t think I’m typical. I think the typical user has an even lower human contact ratio because Facebook has become a competition. He who dies with the most friends wins.

LinkedIn Introduces New Company Pages

Before I get into this post about the latest LinkedIn update I want to make it perfectly clear that I do not use LinkedIn to its utmost. Of the three ‘majors’ (Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn) the social networking choice of professionals finishes a distant third in order of importance to me personally. I am not saying that this is the way to go I am just telling you this is how I approach things.

That said, the announcement of LinkedIn’s new Company Pages (which replaces the Company Profiles of the past) has me a little confused. Here is what LinkedIn has to say about this in a press release entitled “LinkedIn Launches Powerful New Tool to Help Businesses Drive Growth Using Professional Recommendations”