It seems Apple has been exploring far more ambitious attempts of social experience using the iPhone, location-based services and interest matching. The result is the possibility that your iPhone could find you your next friend, business partner or date. "When two strangers meet, it may take a long and awkward conversation to discover their common interests or experiences," Apple writes. Indeed. So what's the company proposing then?
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.
....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).
Of course, all this would be opt-in only to avoid any privacy concerns. For example. GPS tracking could identify people who have traveled to the same locations. Phone numbers and contacts can be compared, as well as common bookmarks or games played on device. Overall the application is a fascinating read. They even suggest that facial recognition features could be used to identify common contacts.
In other words, your iPhone could help your find a matching friend, business partner or your next wife or husband. This could be a fit for Apple's social network for music dubbed Ping, especially when combined with your real identity Apple has on file in iTunes. The document credits Apple engineer Shuvo Chatterjee with the invention.
You can browse the patent application ID (20110142016) into the United States Patent & Trademark office search engine.