GPS adoption low, we blame Google Maps


GPSA recent study by Harris Interactive shows that despite a reasonably high demand for location-based services, GPS usage is staying relatively low, at 16% of Americans. About 26% of all existing users are getting their GPS on PDAs and laptops (we presume BlackBerrys fall somewhere between the two). Traffic direction was the largest pull to GPS services, and yet only one in six people showed any interest in getting the function on their next cellphone. So why are rates so low? Up in Canada we can safely blame the data rates for not using mapping software, but for anywhere else with unlimited data plans, most LBS providers can offer pretty nice deals for around $10/month. Usability doesn’t seem to be too much of an issue, especially with stuff like voice-based GPS functions becoming available. It could be a simple issue of public awareness; web-based mapping solutions like Google Maps have really taken care of most people’s location-based needs, and as a result maybe consumers aren’t considering alternatives.

6 Responses to “GPS adoption low, we blame Google Maps”

  1. 1 Peter Cranstone

    It’s low because you have to pay for it. We solved the problem of bypassing the carriers.

    We simply read the GPS data port and then embed the lat/long into the outgoing web page request. As long as you have a data plan you can stream GPS coordinates all day long using nothing more than HTTP.

    It’s all integrated into the browser so you can now do real time GPS enabled search (amongst a host of other things). On the server side we took the Apache module we invented (Mod_Gzip) and turned it into Mod_Mobile… so now any Apache server can enable their Web 2.0 services to be extended to any mobile device regardless of network carrier.

    Screen shots etc plus how it works can be found on our web site (


    (Oh yes… we’re working on the Blackberry version :)

  2. 2 Simon

    Browser-based GPS sounds like a good way of getting around the data issue. How long do you think until a BlackBerry version of your software is ready?

  3. 3 BlackberryBeard

    Google maps has certainly taken care of all my LBS needs however I have a relative who plugs in her destination into her windshield GPS unit and blindly follows it without any awareness of where she is. Sigh…

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