The Pew Research Center has released new data on mobile use of location-related services and features. It focuses on maps/directions/local search apps, check-ins and geo-tagging of social media posts.
The chart below compares use of location-based services (broadly defined) with the use of what it calls “geosocial services” — essentially apps that allow users to check-in to places.
Use of location based apps/services vs. checking-in:
As Foursquare has moved away from focusing on check-ins and other check-in apps have been acquired (e.g., Gowalla) or otherwise exited the market checking-in appears to be in decline. However location sharing is not.
Users will continue share location or “check in” for incentives (rewards, coupons, etc.). Indeed, indoor location and related advertising will bring a new era of checking-in but for very clear and specific reasons. As a habitual, unmotivated behavior check-ins have peaked and are on the way out.
Among sites used to check-in, the survey (with a very small sample) found Facebook was the top app, followed by Foursquare and Google+ (kind of surprisingly).
Another use of location is for geotaging of social media posts. In contrast to checking-in, that is on the upswing.
Pew found that 30% of its respondents have set up automated location tagging on at least one of their social media accounts. This is up from 14% in 2011. By comparison 16% of teens “said they set up their profile or account so that it automatically includes their location in posts.”
Mobile-location has emerged as a sensitive piece of personal information that users clearly want to control. An earlier Pew survey explored the question of location in the context of a larger survey on privacy. It found that 70% of respondents said it was somewhat or very important that they be able to control who gains access to their location information.
At the Place Conference next month we’ll have a featured session in which we discuss the subject of indoor location and consumer privacy with Laura Berger, Senior Attorney, Division of Privacy and Identity Protection, Federal Trade Commission and Jules Polonetsky, Executive Director & Co-chairman, Future of Privacy Forum.
Back to the subject of check-ins. Do you agree with that this survey appears to say: check-ins are on the way out? Will the check-in survive and if so in what kind of context or scenario?