Rumors have been circulating around a location-based new social network from Apple since the discovery of “Find my Friends” in the iOS 4.3 SDK. However, since the discovery of this in the 4.3 SDK, not much has been said about it. In fact, many publications were told that Apple had shelved the project multiple times prior to said finding.
Today, 9to5Mac published an article noting several references to the Find my Friends service inside of HTML code from the MobileMe/iCloud website. Due to the fact that these findings were found partially within the MobileMe website and that it is being replaced with iCloud, there is a possibility these code snippets are left over from Apple’s previous attempts at creating the location-based service.
Based on previous findings, including a patent application from 2010, Apple was definitely putting a lot of work into this project. Further, terminology cues from Twitter (a service which will be deeply implemented within iOS 5) were found.
According to the code, users will be able to select other users to “follow.” Once a user “follows” another user, they will gain access to information about the user besides their location. Apple would presumably create profiles – maybe similar to Game Center – based on Apple IDs. Because the terminology is so similar to Twitter’s, perhaps Apple’s Find my Friends integrates with a Twitter login.
There is also the possibility that this service will intermix with iCloud’s Photo Stream service, maybe even including videos:
Besides having your friends or family member on a map for interaction, perhaps the most interesting part about Apple’s once planned – or upcoming – Find my Friends social network is that it ties right into Apple’s new iCloud and iOS 5 Photo Stream service; like we told you months ago. In iOS 5, a user can take a picture with their iPhone and it will automatically upload to the cloud then download from the cloud onto the user’s other devices: iPhoto on the Mac and Photos on the iPad and iPod touch, for example. According to the HTML code, it appears that a user’s Photo Streams may show up on their profiles on the Find my Friends map.
It also looks like Apple is going to go one step further with Find my Friends: Video Streams. Photo Stream is obviously currently limited to photo streaming in iOS 5, but it looks like Apple is thinking about or planning a new Video Stream service.
In the end, this is all mainly speculation alongside some code and patent findings. This appears to be a stop-an-go project which could never see the light of day. Still, it is something to consider.