Facebook is charging into the location services sector, but few people use them yet, even among young consumers.
The Pew Internet and American Life Project released a national survey that found just 4 percent of Americans use location services like Foursquare. That figure is actually lower than when Pew first surveyed online users in May and found 5 percent using a location service. Overall, 7 percent of mobile phone users are also location users. Even among 18-29-year-old Internet users, the figure is just 8 percent. Unsurprisingly, these services overindex for men, with 6 percent of online men using them vs. 3 percent of women.
On a typical day, just 1 percent of Internet users are also using location services, according to Pew.
That could change thanks to Facebook Places, which offers its 500 million users the option of sharing their location with their friends. As a further incentive, Facebook yesterday added deals to the system, allowing merchants to offer enticements to those who share their location. Starbucks, for instance, is offering various virtual rewards for checking in at its locations.
It is also running a Facebook ad that promises to donate $1 per check-in, up to $75,000, to Conservation International.
Foursquare has been leader of the pack in location services, boasting over 4 million members in a little more than a year and half of existence. As Pew found, the market is still quite young, with many not seeing the utility in location sharing. Foursquare, for example, ran a promotion for the election that offered a special badge to those who broadcast voting from election sites. A little more than 50,000 users unlocked the badge.