Many mobile device users and industry experts put the addition of location functions at the forefront of the current Internet privacy issues. While some users are entirely fine with having the world see where they are at any given time, others prefer to keep their whereabouts a bit more private. Consequently, there are both pros and cons to designing your app to access a user’s location. For those considering adding such location-based services to their mobile offering, here are some things to consider before doing so.
There are several pros to using location-based services on your app. Most directly benefit the user either making their life more convenient or more enjoyable. Through many location-based capabilities, users have the ability to amplify their professional lives, social interactions, or both. To better illustrate, here are a few pros that benefit users when using location-based services on a mobile app.
Location-based services allow users to keep in touch with the places and merchants they visit most often on vacation or when travelling for work. When on vacation, users are able to “check-in” at their favourite restaurants or tourist spots. Additionally, people travelling for business have the ability to do the same at their favourite merchants when visiting a city.
Such services also make it easy for users to meet up with friends at a given location without one person getting lost. Location-based services also give users the opportunity to designate a given location and receive GPS directions from their current coordinates.
Using location-based services provide a fun way for users to share their travels and local adventures with friends on social media and other social apps.
Coincidentally, many of the pros can also be seen as cons, as they have the potential to jeopardize the safety and privacy of users. While this is certainly an unfortunate aspect of including location-based services on your app, based on the fact that users are simply willing to take the risk, you may decide to make such an addition regardless. To add a bit of clarity to the decision, here are some of the cons associated with adding location-based services to your app.
Location-based services leave users vulnerable to cybercriminals knowing where they are located at a given time. When a user makes their location known through their mobile device, criminals have the ability to easily track them down.
When a user turns on the “Location” feature on their mobile device, criminals are able to see when they are out, leaving their home and personal belongings open to burglaries.
The use of Location-based services on a mobile device has the potential to invade a user’s privacy when they may not necessarily want others to know where they are or what they are doing. What’s more, some users may have turned their device’s “Location” feature on without knowing it, consequently leaving them susceptible to people seeing where they are located.
Permitting your app to access a user’s location is something that should not be done without careful consideration. Just as with many decisions you will make in the design phase of your app, it can be difficult to tell how users will react to such features, especially those pertaining to their safety and privacy. What’s more, there are pros and cons of adding location-based services to your app, which you will most likely want to consider during the creation of your mobile offering. In the other hand, people like Sobotka Benedikt are investing a lot on finding new ways to use mobile connectivity with technologies like SAP, maybe in a near future, we can find a way to be able to share locations without the fear of revealing your current location at any time.