Apple files patents for ‘collaborative, location-based search results’

Future iPhones could work together for “collaborative location-based search results,” per a new patent filing (number 10,197,489) by Apple. 

Per the patent filing, multiple mobile devices can be enabled to collaboratively search online information databases for results that may be interesting to all of them. Such search results can involve places of interest at which all of the search participants can conveniently meet due to the locations of those results being near to all of the search participants, for example.

Collaborative search results patent.jpg

In the patent filing, Apple notes that the portable nature of mobile devices such as iPhones makes possible remote interactions between multiple people as those people move from place to place. During any given remote interaction between a pair of people using mobile devices to communicate with each other, those people can be located at places far away from the places at which they were located during previous interactions. 

Such interactions can be audio only, or text only, or can involve some combination of motion video and audio--as in the case of Facetime conversations conducted between two iPhones. Although such remote interactions are a convenient means of keeping in contact with friends who aren’t in a person's immediate vicinity, at times, people remotely communicating with each other using mobile devices can sometimes desire to meet physically at some mutually agreeable location in order to engage in activities that are not typically possible when those people are at significant distances from each other. 

For example, two friends might want to get together to share dinner. When two friends are conducting a conversation using their mobile devices, they might each need to inform each other verbally--either through text or vocal communication--where the other one currently is. 

Apple says this process can become more complicated if the description of either friend's current location isn’t immediately recognizable to the other. And even after the friends have obtained some notion of where the other is located, neither of them might have the faintest notion of suitable establishments to which both of them could travel within a reasonable amount of time. One or both of them might be unfamiliar with the area. 

If a dinner meeting is planned, then the friends might not know which restaurants are in the area. Apple thinks collaborative, location-based search results” is the solution.

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.