56% of smartphone owners surveyed said they knew about these services and 39% of respondents said they used them. Facebook Places was the clear leader among users (42%) with Latitude (27%) and Foursquare (25%) tied somewhere behind. The biggest barriers to use among non-users? Privacy concerns and lack of clear benefit.

Amon the study's recommendations:

- Companies interested in reaching potential consumers using location based services should build their own, rather than emphasize participation in existing services, because existing services add too little to the core social networking features they duplicate from Facebook, Twitter or the good old fashioned telephone.

- Companies should seek to fullfil new social functions with location apps, not just communication. That's already covered. "Marketers will need to posit experiences & goals that make sense for their particular brands to endorse, build appropriate interactions, and test rewards and incentives," the report says.

Get the full story at ReadWriteWeb