As mobile phone usage becomes increasingly prolific, the number of location-based mobile applications has skyrocketed. The Pew Research Center reports that nearly half of adult smartphone owners use location-based services on their mobile devices -- not only for getting directions, but also to access a variety of information and stay connected with conversations.
More and more mobile phone apps leverage your location to deliver personalized information to you in real-time. Here are some general app categories that make it easier for you to go about your daily life by knowing where you are:
A leading app in this category, Yahoo!'s weather app is one of the most popular apps to more users than even the iPhone's native weather app; and Apple gave it a design award. All mobile weather apps base their information on where you are, so that you don't have to go through the process of typing the location you're interested in learning about.
Location-based shopping apps are known for delivering timely and hottest sales offers to consumers who are out there shopping. Find&Save, for example, brings you latest sales and promotions based on which shopping mall or retail store you are at. Shopkick and Apple's iBeacon technology use micro-location signals to track your presence within a store and give you coupons, rewards and credits (or more information) about specific products that you scan. The number of retail outlets who provide real-time information based on user location doubled in just one year and is expected to continue growing.
The development of mapping apps has transformed the way we transport from one location to another. It's now almost impossible to get lost, even if you're in the middle of a city you've never been before (well, unless you are literally in the middle of nowhere with no signal to your phone). Mapping apps like Google Maps, help you plan your trip on vacation and even avoid traffic on your daily commute. Furthermore, you are able to find out where the closest gas station is, or the local favorites on your road trip.
4. Breaking News
Apps like Banjo are such valuable resources for finding out what is happening in a particular location that even journalists rely on them. The best thing about these apps is that they are available to everybody. You can see if there's any breaking news in your neighborhood through geo-tagged posts by the community who has information to share.
Most if not all of the photo apps ask for location permission so they can tag locations to your photos and albums. Journaling apps like Day One or Heyday make it almost effortless to create a documentation or diary as they automatically capture all the locations you have been. You will find it incredibly fun to look at where you have been a year from now.
When it comes to using public transit, location-based apps have enormous convenience to offer. An example is the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority, serving the Boston area. On its app page, MBTA provides a whole set of options you can browse through and download. One allows you to find the subway or train station that's closest to your current location. Another lets you signal the transit police if you see a suspicious package, and still another will tell you when the next train or bus will depart from where you are.
The social-mobile-local intersection, or "So-Lo-Mo," is increasingly integrated into the background of everything we use our mobile devices for. As SocialMediaBiz comments, "Within a couple of years, geo-location capabilities will simply be baked into our everyday on-the-go lives." Using these apps will only make your life that much easier.
Photo by lzf, iStock Photo