Apple is granted a patent for ‘lifestyle-based social groups’

How’s your social life? Apple wants to make it even better, and has been granted a patent (number 9,769,107) for “lifestyle-based social groups.”

According to the patent, a user device — with the iPhone being the most logical choice — can learn the movement patterns it’s used fore. Based on the movement pattern, and a user activity history, a computer system can determine a lifestyle of a user, or a meaning of a location. 

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The system can create a social group based on the lifestyle and the meaning of location. The system can designate the lifestyle or meaning as a theme of the social group. The social group can be an ad hoc social network. For example, the social group can be created without an explicit user request, can be anonymous, and can be lifestyle and location based.

In the patent, Apple says that one of the most popular media for learning about people is online social networks. On a social network website, people can post information about themselves. The information can include, for example, hobbies, pictures, links to favorite websites, and writings about places visited. This information can be harvested to understand a person's interests. 

However, Apple says this info may not be sufficient to determine a person's everyday lifestyle. The company says that, typically, a person doesn’t post information useful for determining the person's everyday lifestyle, e.g., the person's work, commute, or other daily routines. People generally don’t believe that this information is of interest to an audience in a social network and, as a result, don’t blog about this information. 

I’m not sure anyone who checks out Facebook on a regular basis would agree. 

Of course, Apple files for — and is granted — lots of patents by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office. Many are for inventions that never see the light of day. However, you never can tell which ones will materialize in a real product.