Facebook Places Gets "Before" Mark

The Pew Internet Project's report on so-called geosocial services released today serves as the "before" mark for a "before-and-after comparison" for Facebook Places.

The Pew Internet Project’s report on so-called geosocial services released today serves as the “before” mark for a “before-and-after comparison” for Facebook Places. Although published Thursday, the research occurred from August 9 through September 13, of this year. Facebook Places was announced on August 18.

This was actually Pew Internet Project’s second such survey, following a prior one conducted in May. Take a closer look, and apparently use of the location services Foursquare and Gowalla has dropped by a percentage: In May, five percent of adult Internet users reported using such a site, while the later survey found four percent of adult Internet users have used such a site. How much does the drop have to do with the timing of the Facebook Places announcement on August 18? Did people lose interest in the other geosocial services because Facebook Places was coming soon, because of disenchantment with Foursquare and Gowalla, or none of the above?

Another potential “before” point of comparison for Facebook Places is Pew’s statistic on use of mobile location based services – remember this would have been obtained months before yesterday’s announcement of Deals for cell phones.

  • 7 percent 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.

So Pew’s next survey of this space will probably show what kind of growth trajectory Facebook Places and Deals have.