How to Fix the Pricing Problem for Location-based Services

Location-based services finally seem to be hitting their stride after years of promise. This year at the South by Southwest (SXSW) interactive festival in Austin, Texas, several LBS startups are launching. To understand some of the costs associated with getting a user’s location information, I chatted with Sam Altman, the CEO of Loopt. Loopt is a platform that provides location information to developers building location aware services.

Altman also told me that LBS is for real this time, citing GPS chips in most phones, the carrier excitement about delivering such services, user demand and eager advertisers. A population of users who are less concerned about privacy also seems to be making the services more acceptable. Altman points out that, while he only shares his location with friends, several younger users are knowingly leaving their location information public for everyone.