Posted June 29, 2011 1:00 pm by with 2 comments

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In real estate, location is everything and it’s pretty important when it comes to marketing, too.  According to a study by Pyramid Research, location-based revenue in the US is expected to climb from $2.8 billion in 2010 to $10.3 billion in 2015.

A big chunk of that change will go out to location-based advertising, which, according to Pyramid, is the fastest growing segment. They expect it to be responsible for 60% of the location-based service revenue by 2015. Within that, local search is key.

“Not only are navigation applications moving to a search-funded model, but there are also a wide range of other companies looking to capitalize on the growth of local search, including start-ups (such as Poynt and Yelp), local business advertising specialists (such as Yellow Pages) and vertical aggregators (such as toptable and HotelBooker).”

When talking about geo-location apps such as Foursquare, people often express concern about their personal safety. If a person checks in at the movies, everyone now knows they won’t be home for hours, and then there’s that ex-boyfriend who doesn’t understand the meaning of a restraining order.

On the flipside, “people finding” services are on the rise as more parents use the technology to track their mobile teens and protect their toddlers at the playground. Then there are options such as On Star that can use your location to send out help instantly in the case of an emergency. There’s definitely more good than bad in knowing where a person is at all times. Unless, of course, you’re some place you’re not supposed to be or you’re Al Franken.

Earlier this month, the Senator introduced a bill called the Location Protection Privacy Act which includes stiff penalties for creating “stalking apps” and the sale of location data related to children. It also calls for a study on how location apps are being used in stalking and domestic violence cases and training for law enforcement in the handling and prosecution of crimes related to this kind of data.

Certainly, I support a bill that keeps this kind of data from being used to harass or harm another human being, but if my child ever goes missing, I want to be able to track his phone without any interference from the government or the law.

What do you think? Will location-based services continue to thrive, or will it get bogged down in miles of government red-tape.

  • Will Lee


    My name is Will Lee, a graduate student at New York University. As part of my Master’s Thesis, I am conducting a research study about mobile applications for smart devices; with the focus on a class called location-based services (LBS). The study aims to understand how the three key factors—practical functions, fun & games, privacy risk—affect the adoption of location-based services applications.

    I am writing to request for your permission to post a link to this page. The research instrument (an online survey) is in the review process by the University Committee. The link will forward participants to the survey in an effort to gather primary data. I can send you a link for your review prior to a decision.

    Thank you for your consideration


    Will Lee

  • Having been involved with the early launches of mobile location services on AGPS handsets back in 2003, it’s great to see that the market has finally arrived in the U.S. and is exploding. Obviously there are great uses for mobile location base services – workforce management, family locator, navigation, but now location is becoming a key ingredient of many services and for the delivery of content (such as advertising) to make it more relevant. This should provide great benefits to content providers as well as consumers, and drive up the number of location transactions. However, ensuring proper consumer safeguards is critical to ensure this space will continue to flourish. A strong regime for notice and privacy consent management is the best practice. Consumers need to have control of when location can be disclosed and to who.