Geo-Social Usage Up 3X, But Still Not at Scale

Forrester Research today said 6 percent of U.S. web viewers currently use a location-based app, up from 2 percent a year ago. The report came one day after Foursquare stated it’s crossed the 15-million-user threshold, which coincidentally – like the Forrester stat – represents a 3X growth year over year.

Indeed, while progress in the space is evident, geo-social platforms have plenty of work to do before they achieve scale.

At the same time, says Forrester, word about the platforms is spreading in the U.S. In 2010, only 16 percent of online adults were familiar with names like Foursquare, Loopt, Scvngr, Gowalla, etc. That same data-point is up to 30 percent for 2011, according to Forrester.

Despite such modest consumer activity, major players like Facebook and Google don’t appear to be shying away from the geo-social space. On Monday, Facebook purchased Gowalla and plans to utilize the latter brand’s app-based technology expertise while shutting down the service. And TechCrunch reported today that Google+ mobile app may soon include check-ins where merchants can offer deals – much like what Foursquare has been offering for well over a year.

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