Growing numbers of smartphone owners are using location-based information services: Nearly three-quarters (74%) say they use their smartphone to get real-time location-based information, up from the 55% who said so a year earlier, according to a study by Pew Research.

Moreover, 18% of surveyed smartphone owners say they use a geosocial service such as Foursquare to "check in" to certain locations or share their location with friends. That's up from a reported 12% in May 2011.

Finding maps and directions is among the most popular location-based smartphone activities, via services such as Google Maps. However, location data is increasingly being used to enhance mobile apps ranging from photography to restaurant reservations.

By contrast, check-in services have languished with lower adoption overall, in large part due to privacy concerns.

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