Apple Working on “Find My Friends” Social Network

Apple hasn’t been successful at the social network scene. There was Game Center (Do people still use that?). And there was the diaster known as Ping.

Apple hasn’t gained traction with social network integration in iTunes, but the Cupertino company looks to be stepping up its game in iOS 5. It’s already been announced that there will be Twitter integration in iOS 5, and recent findings point towards a new social network from Apple dubbed “Find My Friends.”

9to5Mac has uncovered more references to Apple’s secret social network in the HTML code of the new iCloud website. The “Find My Friends” framework was originally uncovered in the iOS 4.3 SDK this past January — Apple has been clearly working on this project for a long time.

Due to the references found on the MobileMe/iCloud website, it is believed that this social network will rely heavily on iCloud. Also, it seems that Apple is taking several cues from other platforms, like Twitter and Facebook. Find My Friends looks to be location-based, like Google Latitude.

9to5Mac does note that, because this code references MobileMe, there’s a chance that Apple could have shelved this project a long time ago. While it’s clear that Find My Friends has been in the works for a long time, it’s unclear how committed Apple is to the project. Photo Stream also referenced MobileMe in the beta stages, and it turned out to be a staple iCloud feature in iOS 5. There’s always hope.

“The service may even be similar to a recent patent filing by Apple that is shown above. 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.”

The noted patent describes the general outline of a potential Apple social network, with a focus on location services. Apple has also filed a shopping social network patent, oddly enough.

According to the HTML findings, Find My Friends will integrate with iCloud and Photo Stream for sharing content with friends. The network will also offer video uploads and streams — a feature that Photo Stream currently lacks.

With the addition of Twitter in iOS 5, Apple clearly sees the value of social networking. Hopefully it can get it right in iOS 5.

[image via Macgasm]