iPhone May Help In Looking For New Friends In Future


So actively developing Facebook and Twiiter suggest that social networking has been the most growing trend in the recent years. Apple has already tried to enter into this market with its iTunes network Ping, but without any great success.

Based on content of a new patent application publised today,  it is possible to suggest that Apple has been making much more ambitious plans using the iPhone location-based functions and interest matching. The result is the possibility of finding you your next date, friend or business partner by your iPhone.

In the patent filing Apple creates a scenario:

Social networks are a well known phenomenon, and various electronic systems to support social networking are known. Growing a social network can mean that a person needs to discover like-minded or compatible people who have similar interests or experiences to him or her. Identifying like-minded people, however, often requires a substantial amount of and time and effort because identifying new persons with common interests for friendships is difficult. For example, when two strangers meet, it may take a long and awkward conversation to discover their common interests or experiences.

So Apple proposes replacing "awkward conversation" with manual determination of individuals’ interests using questionnaires (books, interests, etc…) but also with automatic mining various data stored in their iPhone devices. It will be possible to find other people in your vicinity that have similar interests and introduce yourself to them via your iPhone device.

Similar experience and interests of different people located near each other can be identified from content of the device, including usage data of the mobile device that is created automatically. This usage data can be collected based on activities done on the device (e.g., games and songs downloads), a trajectory of the device (e.g., places visited), or other data publicly available on the mobile device (e.g., pictures shared with others).

Certainly, all this would be performed only with user’s consent to prevent any privacy concerns. For example, people who traveled to the same place can be identified by GPS tracking service. It could be possible to compare phone numbers and contacts, as well as similar bookmarks and games played on mobile devices. On the whole, the application is an absorbing read. They even made suggestion of using facial recognition functions to identify common contacts.

At present, patent applications have a tendency to be overambitious representations of what is possible. However, social network and location-services are rapidly developing markets, so it would come as no surprise for Apple to perform some actions in those areas. Actually, there have already been made some references to  "Find My Friends" functions in developer builds of iOS.

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