These days, Americans are no longer using GPS to simply find out how to get from point A to point B. Rather, we're using them for routine activities, such as shopping, eating, playing and relaxing. TeleNav, one of the largest providers of navigation services for millions of subscribers via cell phone, recently unveiled data that showed exactly what people are searching for. With Americans increasingly setting their GPS to find anything and everything, one begins to wonder: where exactly are 13 million people going?
Well, wonder no more. According to TeleNav's analysis of searches conducted by users in December 2009, Walmart was the overall number one U.S. business searched via the GPS device.
Coffee retailer Starbucks followed as a close second. Third and fourth places went to Target and Best Buy, respectively, and Bank of America took fifth.
“Every month our users are conducting millions of searches while using GPS navigation applications," said Sal Dhanani, co-founder and VP, products and marketing for TeleNav. "This data provides a very interesting look into the locations people across the country are searching for while on the road.”
When using mobile services such as TeleNav, information is sent from the owner’s handset to computers where GPS requests are received, processed, and sent back to the device. Because records of all of these queries are stored, TeleNav and others can gain information about how their services are used. The company said that the collected records are anonymous.
In addition to local businesses, the TeleNav analysis gave interesting insight into other habits of American drivers. For instance, the most popular food item searched for was pizza. According to the “gas by price” function that TeleNav provides, Phoenix residents proved to be the most frugal when it came to filling up their tanks.
TeleNav data indicated that drivers living in or visiting select U.S. cities needed more help finding local places of business than others. The most TeleNav searches took place in Los Angeles, followed by the Dallas/Ft. Worth area, Chicago, Houston, and Atlanta.
Though the state does not boast a big city as a GPS search hot spot, data indicated that residents of Maryland were the most avid GPS users, employing it for twice as many trips per month as the national average. The District of Columbia, Massachusetts, North Carolina and California also relied heavily on their devices.
Judging by the most recent data, the next time you use GPS to get your coffee fix or to hunt down the latest bargain at Wal-Mart, odds are there are a lot of other Americans out there doing the exact same thing.