Check It Out: Facebook Places Gaining Critical Mass

If you’ve got a smartphone in the U.S., there’s almost a one in five chance you checked into a location-based service this March.

We know that because comScore told us in a press release.

Message to comScore, in your next MobiLens survey, can you please find out:

  • How often does the smartphone set checks in?
  • Where are they doing it the most?
  • And do they use any of the security settings?

I can only share observations in answer to these questions, but it looks like people use the location services intermittently and don’t appear to be applying security settings to it yet.

And gala events obviously get more check-ins. (Last Saturday night, an entire friend list of mine checked in to the Castro Theater en masse. Isn’t tagging wonderful?)

Anyway, our sibling blog Social Times looked at this week’s comScore data, compared it with a November study from the Pew Internet and American Life Project, to arrive at the question: Have check-ins reached a plateau over the past six months?

It only looks like a plateau when you’re aggregating all of the geolocation services in one set of data. Facebook Places only started in July, and as the service has gained momentum it has been taking market share away from all the others included in both comScore and Pew’s statistics.

The next six to 12 months ought to provide very telling insights into the future growth trajectory for Places and the entire geolocation space. Helping to decide all of this: The advent of so-called Facebook phones in the U.S. (Depending on how you look at it, there’s either no such thing as a Facebook phone, or all mobile phones will be Facebook phones by then, but that’s really just semantics if the actual technology entices more people to check in with greater frequency.)

So, dear readers, what sorts of check-in patterns are you seeing among your friends on Facebook?

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