It turns out the Foursquare might just be a tad bit overhyped.
The majority of Americans and not "checking in" every place they go—i.e. broadcasting their locations via their mobile phones to anyone who cares, according to a new report issued by the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life project.
In fact, just 4 percent of Internet users are using location-based services like the buzz-heavy Foursquare or Gowalla. Perhaps even more telling—on any given day, the percentage of Web users checking in via their mobile devices falls to just 1 percent, per Pew’s research.
The penetration numbers for location-based services are considerably larger for younger demographics—though still relatively tiny. Pew found that 8 percent of adults 18-29 uses location apps, while 10 percent of Hispanics do so, the largest penetration among demographics tracked in the report, which surveyed just over 3,000 adults.
Of course, location-based services may be on the cusp of a growth explosion given Facebook’s recent entrée in the space. The massive social network, which claims 500 million members worldwide, recently introduced a number of partnerships with retailers as it promotes Facebook Places.
Facebook plans to showcase numerous special offers via Facebook Places, such a recent jeans giveaway orchestrated by The Gap.