Americans tap into location-based services: study

September 6, 2011
A man looks at the internet site Foursquare. One in four Americans uses their cellphone to get directions or to receive recommendations about nearby attractions based on their present location, according to a survey published on Tuesday.

One in four Americans uses their cellphone to get directions or to receive recommendations about nearby attractions based on their present location, according to a survey published on Tuesday.

The survey by the Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project found that a much smaller number -- five percent of owners, or four percent of all US adults -- use their phones to "check in" with geosocial services such as Foursquare or Gowalla.

Twenty-eight percent of cellphone owners use their phones to get directions such as GPS-enabled map services or recommendations based on their current , Pew said. That translates to 23 percent of all American adults.

Eighty-three percent of American adults aged 18 and older own a cellphone, according to Pew

Forty-two percent of cellphone owners own a smartphone and they are more likely to use location-based services, Pew said.

Nearly six out of 10 smartphone owners -- 58 percent -- use a geosocial or a location-based information service of some kind, the survey found.

Nine percent of Internet users add their location on social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn, Pew said.

"Americans are not currently all that eager to share explicitly their location on social media sites, but they are taking advantage of their phones' geolocation capabilities in other ways," said Kathryn Zickuhr, co-author of the report.

"Smartphone owners are using their phones to get fast access to location-relevant information on-the-go," Zickuhr said.

The survey of 2,277 was conducted between April 26 and May 22 and has a margin of error of plus or minus two percentage points.

Explore further: Texting on the rise among US adults: Pew survey

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