Location-Based Services Inch Further Into The Mainstream

As smartphone ownership rises, so does the use of location-based features, especially location-based information services and geo-social check-in apps. This is the main finding of a new Pew Internet study on location-based services.

74% of smartphone users get real-time location-based information on their phones as of February 2012, up from 55% in May 2011, according to the survey. More strikingly, 18% use “geosocial services,” i.e. check-in services a la Foursquare, as opposed to 12% in May 2011.

This is an important trend as people worry about “check-in fatigue” and whether check-ins can ever be mainstream, and as Foursquare itself seems to be refocusing its business on cultivating and monetizing its existing userbase as opposed to growing it, adopting the “bowling-pin strategy”.

Foursquare’s revenue model, as explained to us by Foursquare’s head of business development, is predicated on Foursquare becoming a widely-used city guide, i.e. not just a check-in app.

Meanwhile, our report on location-based services is bullish on location-based services over the long term, even though there is still some experimentation left in the short term.  

Photo: Pew

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