The Pew Research Center came out with a study saying only 4% of people are using location based services. Mashable points out a few flaws in the study – one being they interviewed people via the phone, potentially landline phone. I’m kind of shocked they even found 4% of people this way.
The truth is location is growing and with Facebook Places just announcing Facebook Deals, location is sure to grow even more. For some checking in will always be about the “look at me” factor. I’m somewhere cool and I want you to know. But for most I predict checking in will be about what’s in it for me, and nothing peaks people’s interests more than free stuff or deals. For example, The Gap is making a splash today by giving away 10,000 pairs of jeans. At a retail value of $60, that’s worth checking in and actually driving me back to the Gap, a store that’s long fallen off my radar screen.
At the end of the day location is simply a more efficient way of clipping coupons and providing value at the point of purchase. There will always be people who feel it is too big brother, but for the majority, I believe the benefits/deals will wash out any fear of being followed.
If Facebook Deals does explode in a way that Groupon and other online coupon offerings have, I hope that one day we can stop printing up all those circulars I throw away every week. In the future just sending out coupons on a hope and a whim to everyone will seem slightly ridiculous, when we can simply check-in to what we really want.