Apple may enhance Find My Friends privacy with variable location precision

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014


Apple has shown interest in enhancing its "Find My Friends" social networking application for iOS by giving users the ability to adjust the precision of their shared location.



The concept was revealed this week in a new patent application discovered by AppleInsider entitled "Variable Precision Location Sharing." It describes a system that would allow users to share their location with others, but control specifically how much information is made available.



The Find My Friends application for iOS launched last October, and it allows users to share their location with friends and family and also view where others are located. Users must send a request in order to see a friend's location, and it will then appear on a list or a map.



But the current software takes an all-or-nothing approach to privacy, allowing users to either share their exact location, or hide their location from followers. The concept revealed in Apple's latest proposed invention would instead give users the ability to adjust the level of detail shared with others on a sliding scale.



With this new feature, users would be able to tell followers that they are in a certain city, or a certain part of town, rather than giving away their exact location. This could encourage some Find My Friends users to connect with people they otherwise would not want to share their precise location with.



Apple's proposed system could even allow users to set the precision of location sharing on a case-by-case basis. For example, some friends could be sent the exact address of where a user is currently present, while others would be given a general area or city name.











The Find My Friends enhancement could even implement a feature similar to the "Circles" functionality found on the Google+ social networking site, where certain users are grouped together based on a category, like family, friends or co-workers. Varying levels of location accuracy could be chosen for each of these groups, allowing users to more easily control the data others can obtain.



The application, made public this week by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, was first filed in August of 2010. It is credited to Peter Westen.



[ View article on AppleInsider ]

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Comments

  • vandilvandil Posts: 187member
    Making it harder for stalkers, but I wonder if this setting would affect Find My iPhone's accuracy in case the phone is lost...
  • paxmanpaxman Posts: 4,169member
    This shit is a marital bag of hurt. Seriously.



  • umrk_labumrk_lab Posts: 550member
    I beg my daughter will use this feature when available for "find my iPhone" (she is aware that she can easily disable this service)
  • nunyabineznunyabinez Posts: 106member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by paxman View Post


    This shit is a marital bag of hurt. Seriously.







    Not really. Currently you can always disable find my friends, but if you were at your girlfriend's house it might be suspicious if you are shown as "unavailable." Now when you go to your girlfriend's house you can just dial the precision way down and claim you were somewhere else if your spouse asks. Not that I am suggesting anyone should do that but it opens a whole new set of excuses if you're trying to be deceptive.
  • noexpectationsnoexpectations Posts: 481member
    Dear Apple,



    Please add support for multiple devices on the same iTunes account. Right now, only 1 device can be active. Not very friendly for us Families.
  • hmurchisonhmurchison Posts: 11,889member, moderator
    Is there a notification system in place yet so that I can get my gumar out of the house when my wife is within 5 miles of home?
  • nunyabineznunyabinez Posts: 106member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by hmurchison View Post


    Is there a notification system in place yet so that I can get my gumar out of the house when my wife is within 5 miles of home?



    This needs to be part of Siri. "Siri, remind me to get my mistress out of the house when my wife is within 5 miles." Siri: "Ok, I'll remind you". Sweet.
  • hmurchisonhmurchison Posts: 11,889member, moderator
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by nunyabinez View Post


    This needs to be part of Siri. "Siri, remind me to get my mistress out of the house when my wife is within 5 miles." Siri: "Ok, I'll remind you". Sweet.



    Don't forget the Siri Command



    "Call me Tony Soprano"



    Siri: Ok, I will call you Tony Soprano





  • dick applebaumdick applebaum Posts: 11,560member, moderator
    less == Google Earth



    more == Continent
  • poochpooch Posts: 768member
    wooowww. i also heard they're adding a new font to the numbers app.
  • poochpooch Posts: 768member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by noexpectations View Post


    Dear Apple,



    Please add support for multiple devices on the same iTunes account. Right now, only 1 device can be active. Not very friendly for us Families.



    http://www.apple.com/feedback/
  • jeffdmjeffdm Posts: 12,933member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by noexpectations View Post


    Dear Apple,



    Please add support for multiple devices on the same iTunes account. Right now, only 1 device can be active. Not very friendly for us Families.



    I think this is more a tech support problem, also, this is not on topic to this article.



    Have you gone to the Genius Bar? I have three devices on the same iTunes account and it seems to work just fine.
  • pendergastpendergast Posts: 1,358member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by noexpectations View Post


    Dear Apple,



    Please add support for multiple devices on the same iTunes account. Right now, only 1 device can be active. Not very friendly for us Families.



    You can set up individual iCloud accounts (important for backing up) but still use one iTunes account for purchases, iTunes Match, etc. It gets confusing since they're all technically AppleIDs, but you don't have to use them for the same thing.
  • pendergastpendergast Posts: 1,358member
    Siri currently seems capable of being able to show you where your friends are, but increased functionality would useful.



    "Siri, text all my friends near Sampletown that there's a party tonight."





    It would also be a useful option for iMessage, where you can select recipients sorted by location or send a group message to all friends near you (within 5, 10, 15 miles, etc.).





    Push notifications would be useful to, where you can set certain friends to send an auto alert when they are near you, like geofencing.



    Of course, all of this would require a better battery.
  • asciiascii Posts: 5,363member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by paxman View Post


    This shit is a marital bag of hurt. Seriously.







    It might ruin a few surprise parties too...
  • jd_in_sbjd_in_sb Posts: 1,269member
    Decades ago I used to baby sit the guy whose name is on the patent. I hear he is brilliant.
  • solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    I had wished for years that a location-based reminder app ould arrive on the iPhone that could inform you either left or arrived at a general location. With iOS 5.0 that came true but I was surprised that it didn't have a slide to widen the bubble of when you entered or left a location as detailed in the patent. I hope this gets added by iOS 6.
  • foljsfoljs Posts: 244member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by nunyabinez View Post


    Not really. Currently you can always disable find my friends, but if you were at your girlfriend's house it might be suspicious if you are shown as "unavailable." Now when you go to your girlfriend's house you can just dial the precision way down and claim you were somewhere else if your spouse asks. Not that I am suggesting anyone should do that but it opens a whole new set of excuses if you're trying to be deceptive.



    Dude, just give your phone to a friend to keep while you're at your girlfriends house!
  • cajuncajun Posts: 95member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by jd_in_sb View Post


    Decades ago I used to baby sit the guy whose name is on the patent. I hear he is brilliant.



    When you baby sat him, did he have trouble finding you?
  • macapfelmacapfel Posts: 417member
    Reading all this, I get the impression what you really need is the possibility to set a location where you are.
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