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BizReport : Mobile Marketing : February 14, 2011

Microsoft: LBS users aren't broadcasting their location to others

Smartphone ownership is rising and, once curious users catch on, so will location-based services, surmises a report commissioned by Microsoft and conducted by Cross-Tab Marketing Services & Telecommunications Research Group. But most location-based services users aren't onboard to broadcast their location to others, found their research.

by Helen Leggatt

mobile-maps.jpgAs GPS-equipped devices become popular, so do location-based services. Consumers enjoy the novelty of being able to find their exaction location and determine services in the vicinity, while marketers take advantage of the vast amount of targeting data available.

For the majority of users, location-based services are used to find information on where they are - weather, maps, restaurants, stores. Few currently use them to broadcast their location to friends and networks via the likes of Foursquare or Facebook Places, found Microsoft. It is mainly "social" users of location-based services who are keen to share their location with their networks, and they are currently in the minority.

Over half (58%) are put off using location-based services by privacy concerns and the lack of control over who has access to their location data. Half of respondents said they would be more comfortable using location-based services if they were given the ability to manage who sees their data.

Despite these concerns, the future of location-based services looks promising.

Across all five countries involved in the survey (U.S., U.K., Canada, Germany, Japan), a whopping 94% of location-based services users said they found them valuable, no-one more so than U.S. users (99%). Four in 10 use location-based services once a week and perceived value increases with use as they become ingrained in day-to-day life.

Tags: LBS, location-based marketing, location-based services

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