We’ve all noticed the explosive expansion of social networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace and the microblogging site Twitter. However, what all these sites have in common is the massive barrier that prevents a normal person from finding like-minded individuals in a smooth and simple way. Sure, you can randomly add one million people to your friends list, but we all know you’ll be talking to 5, 10 maximum.
Apple will soon shake things up, according to its newest patent application of an iPhone and PC-based application to find and reach people with similar tastes, goals and ideas.
While we may think the personality questionnaires are commonly found in dating sites, which try to flesh out your e-persona, it is a fast and easy method to find individuals with common ideas, thus bringing the ability to “break the ice” faster and without any “what if he’s actually a guy” worries. Moreover, besides the tests and the ability to connect over a PC and mobile, Apple’s vision takes us a step further.
“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).”
This breakthrough will give you the chance to connect and communicate with people in your mindset AND in your vicinity, killing the cynic minds that portray social networking sites as a mere “virtual random chatter” with no implications in actual life.
The user will be able to allow the application access to find and be found over either the WiFi area networks or through regular network coverage on the iPhone, thus not even requiring contact with a PC to start a fresh conversation with a complete stranger reasonably close to you that you know will have something in common with you.
There’s even talk of the application being able to use face recognition to bring commonly known people into the mix, besides the normal “x is a common friend of a and b”. Again, all of these features will be optional, started only with user consent, to remove any problems with privacy.
Let’s hope the software will be air-tight both on PC and on mobile phones, for this application could either bring a more personal networking future, or it could bring the next generation of identity theft and harassment.