updated 10:00 pm EST, Thu February 24, 2011
Not to be confused with 'Places' in iPhoto
Apple has filed a trademark application with the European Union (based on an earlier filing in Jamaica) to protect the name "Places" as a social networking service that may offer the ability to find friends via GPS. The application, filed yesterday, is categorized under for very broad classes covering almost every technology-related activity one could think of, but particularly lists the name as being used for "online social networking services."
As noted by Patently Apple, this follows an earlier amendment to an Apple filing last month regarding the "Apple" service mark itself, adding "a social networking site for entertainment purposes" to its many other classifications. The new application clarifies that Apple has its eyes on setting up a social network of its own, possibly in conjunction with the existing Ping music network embedded in iTunes. As with many of Apple's recent initiatives, this service will almost certainly focus on mobile users, while not excluding desktop users (as with FaceTime).
Per usual, there are no details or dates associated with the trademark filing, and no mention of any new service on Apple's official Lion page. Apart from the hint that it could involve using GPS to locate people, nothing specific is said. This new service, which may appear under a different name if and when it debuts, should not be confused with the "Places" view in iPhoto. The filing was handled in London England by Edwards Angell Palmer & Dodge UK LLP. [via Patently Apple]