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Few Americans using location-based services: Pew study

by Staff Writers
Washington (AFP) Nov 4, 2010
Foursquare is one of the hottest tech startups around but few Americans are using it or similar location-based services, according to a report released on Thursday.

Only one percent of US adult Internet users are using a "geosocial" service such as Foursquare or Gowalla on any given day, the survey by the Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project found.

And only four percent of online Americans use a location-based service that allows them to share their location with friends or find others who are nearby, according to the survey.

In May, five percent of adult Internet users said they used such a service.

Foursquare, which was launched in March 2009 and claims more than four million users worldwide, allows users to "check in" from a location using a mobile device and notify other users of their whereabouts.

The Pew survey found that online adults between the ages of 18 to 29 were the heaviest users of location-based services with eight percent using them.

Seven percent of adults who go online with their mobile phones use a location-based service, the survey found, and six percent of online men use a location-based service compared with three percent of online women.

While the survey found usage of location-based services may still be in its infancy, it can be expected to grow over time.

Pew said 24 percent of online US adults have now used Twitter, up from six percent in August 2008, and the number of online adults using a social networking site like Facebook, Myspace or LinkedIn has reached 62 percent.

Facebook also threw its hat into the location-based services ring in August with a new service called "Places" which allows members of the social network to share their whereabouts with friends while on the move.

The Pew survey of 3,001 adults age 18 and older was conducted between August 9 and September 13 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.9 percentage points.

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