A new feature in Apple's forthcoming iOS 5 update, Find My Friends, will help users see where their contacts are. Think GPS tracking for your social life, included in iOS.
According to sources reporting to 9to5Mac a few months ago, Apple had been working on the Find My Friends feature for quite some time, though the project was on and off several times.
Now, after new HTML code in the MobileMe/iCloud Web site has been found, it appears that Find My Friends is back. And it could signal one of the most significant entries into the social networking realm since Facebook.
A patent application from 2010 shows what Apple's line of thinking may be for the Find My Friends feature. Essentially, users could access their contact list and send a request for location data to any of their friends or family.
With the amount of installed users Apple already has, and the rate at which the iPhone is selling, Find My Friends could be a serious contender for the top social application. Combining Find My Friends with iOS 5's Twitter integration, Apple's previous social networking missteps (read: Game Center and Ping) may be a thing of the past.
It remains to be seen just how Find My Friends, iOS 5 Twitter integration, and any new features included in the iPhone 5's hardware will add up in Apple's social networking plan, but given all the possibilities and Apple's penchant for design and user experience, it is certainly exciting to see another serious Facebook competitor in the social networking space.
What should Apple's social networking strategy be? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!