June 17, 2011
Although Apple had less than stellar results with its Ping application via iTunes, this doesn’t mean the company has given up on social networking altogether. In fact, a new patent suggests Apple has other ideas planned in the future to bring people together, according to news first reported by MacRumors. Apple is looking to explore something called interest matching. This is a way for iDevice owners to find other people, whether they be a new friend, business associate or date. According to the patent entitled, “AD HOC NETWORKING BASED ON CONTENT AND LOCATION,”
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.Therefore, Apple hopes to end these “awkward conversations” by gathering personal data found on a user's iDevice and match it with data from others in the same location. They state:
Common interests and experiences of two or more users located close to each other can be identified from content, including automatically created usage data of the mobile devices. Usage data of a mobile device can be created based on activities performed on the mobile device (e.g., songs downloaded), a trajectory of the mobile device (e.g., places traveled), or other public data available from the mobile device (e.g., pictures shared).While some may argue such a system would bring up privacy concerns, it would only work when individuals give their consent. In January, we reported on some code in iOS 4.3 called “FIND_MY_FRIENDS,” which might have something to do with what was discovered in the mentioned patent. However, at this point, we are not sure. Still, it looks like Apple has something cooked up with regards to social networking and giving its users the ability to find others using iDevices. What do you think? Leave your comments below.