I Already Know Where I am And I Don’t Care Where You Are

Here’s a TechCrunch article desperately trying to be breathless:

Pew: More Than A Quarter Of U.S. Adults Use Mobile And Social Location-Based Services

Which is somewhat contradicted in the article. Here’s the real story:

Pew reports that 28% of cell owners use phones to get directions or recommendations based on their current location (that works out to 23% of all U.S. adults). Only 5 percent of cell phone owners user their phone to check-in to locations using apps like Foursquare or Gowalla.

When you correct for smartphone users, the percentages climb a bit.

One in ten smartphone owners (12%) have used Foursquare, Gowalla, or a similar application and 55% of smartphone owners have used a location-based information service.

Huh, so half of all smartphone users DON’T use location services?

Social media and location services doesn’t get me excited as a businessman. At all. They both work on the following problems:

  • You don’t know where you are
  • You don’t know where you’re going
  • You’re bored and want to see what your friends are up to
  • You’re bored and want to find something to do

These are great if you’re between 15 and 30, moved to a new city or are looking for all kinds of new experiences.

Most people have lived in the same area for years/decades (they know where they are). Most people have a thousand more things to do than they need (they don’t care where you are).

The revenue model is advertising (Google wins, yeah, I get that) and the profit model is shoestring bootstrapping (ok, Amazon too). The macro effect is to enhance the superstar phenomenon for restaurants and other services in big cities.

Maybe it raises the quality of restaurant food.

Big whoop.

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