A few weeks ago, we asked readers whether they are using their mobile phones to “check-in” to locations with services like Foursquare and Gowalla. About 30 percent said they do so regularly — at least a few times a week.

Not a surprise that GeekWire readers are early adopters of mobile technologies. But a new study out from the Pew Internet & American Life Project finds that just four percent of American adults have ever used one of the mobile check-in services.

“Americans are not currently all that eager to share explicitly their location on social media sites, but they are taking advantage of their phones’ geolocation capabilities in other ways,” said Kathryn Zickuhr, Pew Internet Project research specialist and co-author of the report.

And what are they using their phones for?

Twenty eight percent of respondents are using location-based features on mobile phones to get driving directions or recommendations — a good sign for a number of Seattle area startups (Inrix in traffic) and (Urbanspoon, Chewsy in restaurants).

Meanwhile, here’s a look at our poll on mobile check-ins from last month:

Like what you're reading? Subscribe to GeekWire's free newsletters to catch every headline


  • Guest

    Based on my antidotal data, more than 70% of Americans have used Google Maps. Google Maps uses Foursquare to pop those little icons indicating venues beside streets. Therefore, a significant number of Americans are using Foursquare even if they don’t realise it.

    • http://ClaussConcept.com Jason Gerard Clauss

      What is your data an antidote to?

  • http://www.tatango.com/blog Derek Johnson

    Yea, it’s what I like to call living in a bubble. You know less than 1% of feature phone users (which makes up 60% of the population) uses twitter on their mobile phones? Even when you look at smartphone users (40% of the population) you are only looking at 15% usage of Twitter. You know what percentage of smartphone users text messages? 92%

    • Guest

      Twitter is text messaging, Derek. Why do you think it’s limited to only 140 characters? What do you think short code 40404 is used for?

      • http://www.tatango.com/blog Derek Johnson

        Yea, it’s a feature… but as you can see from the data distribution, if they were the same, the usage percentages would be the same.

  • http://ClaussConcept.com Jason Gerard Clauss

    I’m quite tech savvy and I have zero interest in informing the world of where I am. It’s an obnoxious conceit to think that anyone gives a flying funk where you are or what you’re doing unless it’s relevant to them. I don’t care that you’re having drinks with Penny Possumcock. I don’t care that you are waiting in line for a triple soy vegan chai latte. I don’t care that you just liberated a million tadpole warriors from the submarine prison. Get over yourself and do something productive!

    • Guest

      What productive activities would you recommend, Mr. Angry UI/UX Designer Who Doesn’t Use Foursquare And Comments About It?

    • Anonymous

      Absolutely agree!  I find it kind of weirdly creepy that people feel the need to inform everyone of their whereabouts.  Are they so insecure that they think they will be forgotten if they don’t broadcast their location?  It reminds me of a co-worker that would give me a blow-by-blow description of his weekend on Monday morning.  I avoided the guy simply because I didn’t have an hour to waste on the minutia of his life.

      • http://ClaussConcept.com Jason Gerard Clauss

        It’s probably the result of one too many self-esteem boosting sessions in the 80s/90s. Every kid thinks they are the most amazing thing since sliced bread even if they are just another nobody.

Job Listings on GeekWork