The Rise of Geosocial-Based Internet Services [Pew Research]


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It seems like everyday there's another location-based service popping up to offer us an incentive to either broadcast our location of cash in on some exclusive deal. Sites like Foursquare and Gowalla were the focus of Pew Internet Research's latest study. What they wanted to know is how often are people using these sites, and what demographics visit them most frequently?

This is actually Pew's second attempt to nail down the mystery surrounding these sites, and since they first investigated the matter in May 2010, little has changed. So while there may be more sites offering location-based services, or geosocial as Pew puts it, frequency of visits remains relatively unchanged.

As you might have guessed, these geosocial services are most popular with folks from age 18 to 29, significantly higher than any other group. Still only about 8% of this population uses the services on a regular basis. Hispanics are the big winners when it comes to ethnic background, 10% of geosocial visitors fall into the demographic. Also more men in the overall population us geosocial sites (6%) than women (3%).

Check out some key findings from the report:

* 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.

Although their growth seems to be going slow, location-based services are definitely bound to become more popular. Groupon recently announced their plan to become a leader in local commerce and wants to reinvent the way small business attracts clients. Of course Foursquare Gowalla also continue to grow and offer more geosocial services. Many believe location-based is the future of search and social networking.