In its first report on the use of “geosocial” or location-based services, the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life project finds that 4% of online adults use a service such as Foursquare or Gowalla that allows them to share their location with friends and to find others who are nearby. On any given day, 1% of internet users are using these services.
Location-based services such as Foursquare and Gowalla use internet-connected mobile devices’ geolocation capabilities to let users notify others of their locations by “checking in” to that location. Location-based services often run on stand-alone software applications, or “apps,” on most major GPS-enabled smartphones or other devices.
Key findings include:
- 7% of adults who go online with their mobile phone use a location-based service.
- 8% of online adults ages 18-29 use location-based services, significantly more than online adults in any other age group.
- 10% of online Hispanics use these services – significantly more than online whites (3%) or online blacks (5%).
- 6% of online men use a location-based service such as Foursquare or Gowalla, compared with 3% of online women.
About the Survey
This report is based on the results of a telephone survey by the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project conducted between August 9 and September 13, 2010. The survey was administered to a sample of 3,001 adults, age 18 and older, using a combination of landline and cellular telephones. Interviews were conducted in English or Spanish. The sample margin of error is plus or minus 2.5 percentage points for the general population and plus or minus 2.9 percentage points for internet users (n=2,065).