Not many people are “checking in” using services such as Foursquare and Gowalla, but over a quarter of Americans are checking out their surroundings using location-based services.
The latest research from Pew’s Internet and American Life Project found that 28 percent of American adults have used mobile or social location-based services to get recommendations such as the best-rated nearby cafe or directions from their current location.
Only about 5 percent of those surveyed used services that post their current locations, though smartphone users were more than twice as likely to signal their location to their friends. In a similar vein, about 9 percent of all users used the location-tagging options on social media.
As once might expect, younger smartphone users are more likely overall to use check-in services, but there was no clear divide on age when it came to hitching a location-tag to a Facebook or Twitter message.
The study also found that blacks and Hispanics were the most likely to use geosocial services, but whites were the most likely to use other location-based phone services.
“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, the co-author of the report in a statement. “Smartphone owners are using their phones to get fast access to location-relevant information on-the-go.”