People with smartphones and/or tablets are prompted to verify or reveal their location so often that most comply without giving it a second thought. But is it really a good idea to include a location when using an app? While the immediate convenience to the consumer can be useful, there’s a lot more to geo-location than meets the eye.
Location components on smartphone and mobile device applications serve a dual purpose. They help the consumer using the app to find businesses and services nearby, but they also help other users find the individual.
Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of revealing location to a mobile app to see if it’s something consumers should continue complying with or if they should start thinking twice before pressing “Allow.”
Geo-Location Feature on Mobile Apps
- Become Part of a Network.Consumers and business owners alike can benefit from the use of geo-locators by becoming part of a network with common interests. On both sides of the coin, the potential exists to network with others who share the same interests and are looking for the same things.
- Gain Exposure.A business owner who offers an app stands to gain a lot of exposure from geo-locator use. When consumers reveal their location, businesses in the area will show up, offering the consumer and business owner the opportunity to connect.
- Convenience of GPS.Remember the days of wanting to try a new restaurant or shop but not being able to find it? Those days are gone when location services are enabled. Once location is revealed, GPS starts working and can help the individual find the destination he or she is searching for.
- Social Mapping.There’s safety in numbers, and checking in through geo-location lets others know where a person is at. This is especially helpful when the individual is connecting with friends and acquaintances. Social mapping helps people locate the places where other people they know are likely to frequent.Cons
- Waiving Privacy.Those who opt to reveal their location through a mobile app should realize they’re waiving privacy when they do so. An app reveals a person’s location, as well as how frequently he or she goes there.
- Potential Safety Risk.Revealing one’s location is a safety risk, plain and simple. We often let our guard down in front of the screen, but should realize that it’s not safe to assume that everyone a person connects with through geo-location services is safe. This feature should be used with caution.
- Web-Based Businesses Can’t Participate.A downfall for business owners, such as those who provide internet reputation management services, who have a web-only presence is that they can’t participate in the use of geo-location. Since this feature is only available with applications, a businessperson who doesn’t want to lose out to the competition needs to have an app developed for his or her business.
- Loss of Business.On the same theme, businesses that don’t use apps with location features will clearly lose business to other businesses that do. Considering business growth, it’s likely to make sense to have an app created for a business.
Weighing the Pros and Cons
To determine whether or not a person wants to reveal their location when prompted by an app, the individual should first weigh the pros and cons. From the standpoints of both the consumer and businessperson, there are definite advantages and disadvantages to use geo-location. Consumers who use geo-location safely can connect with others and find new places to do business. At the same time, businesspeople who have apps or geo-location services can meet their business-building goals by attracting consumers in the area.
The bottom line is that geo-location is smart and convenient, but only if the user is smart about revealing their location.
How do you feel about geo-location? Do you immediately click “allow,” or are you firmly against it?
Photo Credit/Source: Hiuppo/Wikimedia Commons