Remember the heady days of Foursquare, when using apps to share your location was fun, novel, and seemed like it might become a key part of social networking in the future, especially as smartphone and tablet use grew? Whether we’re talking about Foursquare, the now-shuttered Google Latitude, or any number of other peers, usage of these kinds of apps and services had been on the upswing, with more and more users joining in each year. In the latest report on cell phone activities from the Pew Research Center, interest in location services appears to be falling off, in contrast to nearly every other mobile activity.
Indeed, using phones for video calls, downloading apps, checking emails, or looking up directions – all of these activities show steady growth. But while interest in location services grew from 5% in 2011 to 11% in 2012, it seems to have dropped to 8% in 2013.
Now, that percentage is almost certainty much higher when we look at just smartphone users – this survey was conducted among cell phone users as a whole, and only 55% of respondents self-identified as smartphone users. Also, there are probably a lot of users sharing their location info who might not even realize it, failing to appreciate how an app actually operates or just blindly clicking-through permission requests. But it’s still hard to ignore that drop-off, especially in light of gains literally everywhere else.
Are you at all interested in these kind of apps anymore? Has this summer’s NSA scandal got you thinking twice about sharing quite so much personal data like your location? Or where you never a big fan in the first place?