If widely adopted, Wifi Aware could redefine social networking and finally enable the now infamous "elastic social networks". A dynamic collection of these elastic networks could be thought of as a "civic network" or a new paradigm in social networking that allow us to share and connect with people nearby to discover placer, crowd-shop, get better POVs on stadiums, take 3D photos and videos, share files in conferences and classrooms, become citizen reporters and profoundly change interactions in every naturally occurring group of people. Quoting one of my essays (The Case For A Global Civic Network, http://www.jordhy.com/the-case-for-a-civic-network):
What Facebook is to a club, this next property needs to be to the “open society”. An open collaboration place that is less intimate than your social network of choice, but still manages to embed intelligence, security and structure into our daily interactions. If you think of society and civility as the protocols that make us productive offline, then the idea of a civic network emerges as the tools that will make us productive as a “hive” or significant group of people. Indeed, this is a big idea, but one that could change our world for the better and have a disruptive impact for generations to come.
While I'm skeptical, I think that Wifi Aware is a huge step into such a vision and, if widely adopted, could create new possibilities for developers and users.