Geolocation services--mobile applications that allow users to share their physical whereabouts with their networks--are gaining momentum. This week, Foursquare said it hit 100 million check-ins, with nearly 1 million "check-ins" per day. Earlier this year, Twitter added its own geotagging feature and now Facebook is reportedly working on its own.
But as these services gain speed, so too, it appears, do user privacy fears--at least according to a survey conducted by Webroot, a maker of antivirus and antispyware software.
Given the nature of Webroot's business, the company does have a vested interest in the topic. Nonetheless, the survey results are worth noting. Researchers found that 55 percent of the 1,500 geolocation tool users polled are concerned about privacy loss and 45 percent are very concerned about letting potential burglars know when they're away from home.
Remember in February, when a site called Please Rob Me launched to expose the privacy flaws of social media? The argument was this: if you're checking into a location, like a restaurant, you're broadcasting to the world that you're not home.
The Webroot survey revealed that 29 percent of users knowingly share their location with the public, while the rest keep it within their private network.
But even though Foursquare, Gowalla, and other tools let users keep their locations private, check-ins pushed out to other social networks might not be secure. Most recently, Facebook's privacy settings worried many users who opted to close their account.
So what about you, readers? How worried are you about being followed into that bar you just checked into? Or is surrendering some privacy just an intrinsic part of the Web 2.0 culture? Vote in our poll and let us know.