Pew has released some new survey findings showing that roughly 58 percent of smartphone owners use what Pew is calling “geosocial and location-based services.” There’s a mix of activities and applications grouped under these headings, including maps & directions and sites like Yelp and Foursquare among other things.
Pew data reflect that 35 percent of mobile subscribers have smartphones. This is in general agreement with comScore, although Nielsen now says that smartphone owners represent 40 percent of all mobile phone owners.
While only 12 percent of smartphone owners use Foursquare and Gowalla, 55 percent use maps & directions and other local applications. (A combined 58 percent of smartphone owners use at least one type of “geosocial or location-based service.”)
Pew found that 14 percent (a minority) of social networking users allowed automatic location tagging of their updates. That small figure suggests a relatively high sensitivity to privacy concerns, although the Pew report doesn’t explore this issue.
Because of the unwieldy nature of asking about location and LBS services on mobile devices, the Pew survey likely misses activity on smartphones directed to offline businesses, events and attractions. For example Google previously found, via survey data, that 90 percent of smartphone owners conduct local searches or local business lookups and an astounding 87 percent thereafter took action.