The New York Times reports on public aversion to location-tracking services, whether they’re through social-networking sites such as Facebook or Foursquare or via coupon marketers:
Big companies and start-ups alike — including Google, Foursquare, Gowalla, Shopkick and most recently Facebook — offer services that let people report their physical location online, so they can connect with friends or receive coupons. […]
But for all the attention and money these apps and Web sites are getting, adoption has so far been largely confined to pockets of young, technically adept urbanites. Just 4 percent of Americans have tried location-based services, and 1 percent use them weekly, according to Forrester Research. Eighty percent of those who have tried them are men, and 70 percent are between 19 and 35. […]
Foursquare, for example, which lets people “check in” to public places on their phones and let their friends know where they are, has close to three million users, most of them in cities. Loopt, a similar service, has four million users, about a quarter of whom actively use it. Compare that with Twitter, which has 145 million registered users. […]
For now, many people say sharing their physical location crosses a line, even if they freely share other information on the Web.
Stephanie Angelucci, who is 30 and lives in North Beach, Md., updates her MySpace page with photos of her babies, news about her health and testaments to her love of sailing. But she won’t use location apps.
“I don’t like broadcasting where we are or when my husband’s gone, just for safety reasons,” she said.