Although the technology is still at a nascent stage, if Apple has its way, Twitter and Facebook will soon begin to look like preliminary forms of social networking. According to a patent application filed by Apple, a new app from the company will allow users to meet new people who have similar interests and are present in the vicinity.
The users’ problem, as defined by Apple, is that the current popular social networks require people to know their future Facebook friends beforehand. If they are adding new people to their network, they need to first talk to them to find out whether their interests match or not — and this first conversation is often embarrassing or awkward. To make this effort, users need to invest time and effort before they come to know whether they have shared interests or not.
Apple believes it can solve this problem by asking for people’s permission to share their interests with other iPhone users in the area. If two iPhone users have something in common, they can also agree to meet with each other.
To get the information, Apple would ask users to fill a questionnaire, and the phone would utilise usage data as well — which may include places traveled, songs downloaded etc. — to find out more about users while matching them with prospective friends.
Apple has filed for patents in the social networking space earlier as well, but those apps require users to know each other before they can share their location data with others.
In the patent application it has filed, Apple says, “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 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).”