London, UK: ABI Research has forecasted that there will be 1.7 billion geo-enabled browsers in use worldwide by 2016. Hence, Location-enabled services (LES) such as location-based social networking (Facebook Places), micro-blogging (Twitter), messaging, calendars, advertising and geo-browsers (Apple Safari, Google Chrome) are set for strong growth driven by standards such as the W3C’s geo-location API.
“The location industry is entering into a new era. Instead of offering separate applications providing specific stand-alone LBS services, location is increasingly positioned as an enabler of existing mobile services. The transparent use of location results in new business and indirect monetisation models, web/widget and open source development environments, changing value and supply chains, the adoption of alternative positioning technologies, new content sourcing paradigms and innovative interfaces (Augmented Reality),” commented Dominique Bonte, Director, Telematics & Navigation practice, ABI Research.
However, privacy concerns loom large over LES space. Most vendors are adopting a conservative and user-unfriendly approach based on explicit opt-ins, manual location check-ins, default settings for underage users, reduced positioning accuracy, and in some cases even the possibility for the user to delete his or her entire location history. But doubts remain about the extent to which location data will be stored, analysed and used for other purposes such as targeted advertising without the user’s consent, and how well this data is protected from unauthorised access by rogue parties.
The recent agreement between Microsoft and Facebook to provide local search services based on recommendations generated within social networks highlights the strategic dimension of social media as a powerful instrument to challenge Google’s dominant position.
ABI Research’s “Location-Enabled Services” study covers geo-enabled browsers, location-based social networking and micro-blogging, messaging and calendar applications, and location-based advertising. Major players and solutions are described, as well as drivers and barriers in this market.
The report includes forecasts for location enabled services by type and region. It is part of the firm’s Location Platforms and Enablers Research Service.
Source: ABI Research