LBS services can be used in a variety of contexts, such as health, work, personal life, etc. LBS services include services to identify a location of a person or object, such as discovering the nearest banking cash machine or the whereabouts of a friend or employee. LBS services include parcel tracking and vehicle tracking services. LBS can include mobile commerce when taking the form of coupons or advertising directed at customers based on their current location. They include personalized weather services and even location-based games.
It's doesn't seem all that long ago since we first started hearing of Location Based Services, now we have many companies to choose from offering their versions of the service such as Foursquare, Gowalla, Loopt, Whrrl, Brightkite and many more. Recently Facebook jumped on the bandwagon with their service aptly named Facebook Places and have started rolling out the service to their 500 million + users.
"Checking-In" is now very popular with users on any of the above mentioned sites. Users can "check-in" anywhere, at home, work, a restaurant, nightclub, retail outlet or any other type of establishment using the service on their mobile device.
Businesses are starting to use these services in their marketing efforts and are offering rewards to loyal customers when they check in to their store such as, buy one get one free or other discounts on purchases. Thus increasing sales and foot traffic to their business premises.
One of the early adopters Starbucks teamed up with social gaming app Foursquare, offering customer rewards for "checking in" to their stores where, after checking in at any store they would unlock "Badges". If you checkin to their store frequently and unlock the "Mayor Badge" then you are rewarded with a $1 discount on a Frappucino.
When searching on your mobile device your chosen app or search engine uses your GPS function to return relevant and local results to your search query.
The potential for Location Based Services are massive and we are just scratching the surface. All the major players are getting in on the action. Watch this space.