Facebook Gets News Feeds Patent, a key Collaboration Feature

Facebook News Feeds Patent

Facebook News Feeds Patent

Facebook gets awarded with the patent for News Feeds which is gigantic in the social networking, social computing, and digital collaboration.

When I attended the SharePoint Conference in 2006 in Seattle, one of the key features discussed on SharePoint 2007 was the social computing aspect and the speaker emphasized the web parts capable of adding feeds. As a demo, the speaker showed how easy it was to add news feeds, and use these feeds for digital collaboration. It was discussed how important feeds and news feeds was for SharePoint and collaboration within the enterprise organization. Microsoft has great intentions but the problem was they failed to acquire the patent for it.

In SharePoint 2010, social computing gets better which only makes their failure to acquire news feeds patent more pronounced.

Facebook definitely scored a home run on this patent which means they can start having their lawyers breathe down the necks of MySpace, Google, Twitter, and yes even Microsoft. Microsoft may not have a public social networking goliath but they are definitely utilizing news feeds and promoting it together with their social computing platform on SharePoint 2007, and now SharePoint 2010.

I think Microsoft should be safe for now given the advertising agreement that Microsoft and Facebook has. For what its worth they should have a good enough business relationship that could be leveraged upon. As for Google, Twitter, MySpace, and the rest of the world; Facebook should and would be sending them a love letter from their lawyers.

I am not sure how the patent and the lawyers would present this to the rest of the world but the description of the patent seems straightforward enough — “Dynamically providing a news feed about a user of a social network”. Social networks like Twitter, Google and MySpace are suffering a direct hit, is Microsoft social network within the enterprise covered?

Below are the details and information on the patent as posted on the United States patent website.

The abstract of the patent

A method for displaying a news feed in a social network environment is described. The method includes generating news items regarding activities associated with a user of a social network environment and attaching an informational link associated with at least one of the activities, to at least one of the news items, as well as limiting access to the news items to a predetermined set of viewers and assigning an order to the news items. The method further may further include displaying the news items in the assigned order to at least one viewing user of the predetermined set of viewers and dynamically limiting the number of news items displayed.

Inventors: Zuckerberg; Mark (Palo Alto, CA), Sanghvi; Ruchi (Palo Alto, CA), Bosworth; Andrew (Palo Alto, CA), Cox; Chris (Palo Alto, CA), Sittig; Aaron (Palo Alto, CA), Hughes; Chris (Palo Alto, CA), Geminder; Katie (San Jose, CA), Corson; Dan (Menlo Park, CA)
Assignee: Facebook, Inc. (Palo Alto, CA)

Appl. No.: 11/503,242
Filed: August 11, 2006

Claims

What is claimed is:

1. A method for displaying a news feed in a social network environment, the method comprising: monitoring a plurality of activities in a social network environment; storing the plurality of activities in a database; generating a plurality of news items regarding one or more of the activities, wherein one or more of the news items is for presentation to one or more viewing users and relates to an activity that was performed by another user; attaching a link associated with at least one of the activities of another user to at least one of the plurality of news items where the link enables a viewing user to participate in the same activity as the another user; limiting access to the plurality of news items to a set of viewing users; and displaying a news feed comprising two or more of the plurality of news items to at least one viewing user of the predetermined set of viewing users.

2. The method of claim 1, wherein the plurality of activities are selected according to an affinity determined for the viewing user.

3. The method of claim 1, wherein at least one informational link comprises a dropdown menu.

4. The method of claim 1, further comprising attaching an active link associated with at least one of the plurality of activities, to at least one of the plurality of news items.

5. The method of claim 4, wherein the active link comprises a dropdown menu.

6. The method of claim 1, wherein the step of assigning an order comprises assigning the order according to a chronological order of occurrence of the news items.

7. The method of claim 1, further comprising displaying advertising with the plurality of news items.

8. The method of claim 1, further comprising: monitoring an interaction of the viewing user with the at least one of the plurality of news items; and utilizing the interaction to generate an additional news item.

9. The method of claim 1, further comprising: monitoring an interaction of the viewing user with the at least one of the plurality of news items; and utilizing the interaction to select advertising for display to the viewing user.

10. The method of claim 1, further comprising searching the one or more news items for a predetermined character string.

11. The method of claim 1, further comprising applying a filter to the one or more news items to prevent news items regarding certain types of activities from being displayed.

12. The method of claim 1, further comprising dynamically limiting a number of the plurality of news items available for display.

13. The method of claim 12, wherein the step of dynamically limiting the number of the plurality of news items for display includes removing a news item from the display and adding a new news item to the display.

14. The method of claim 13, wherein the news item removed from the display is selected according to the assigned order.

15. The method of claim 13, wherein the news item removed from the display is selected according to affinity information.

16. A system for displaying a news feed comprising: a social network environment; a module configured to monitor a plurality of activities in a social network environment; a storage medium for storing the plurality of activities in a database; a module configured to generate a plurality of news items regarding one or more of the activities, wherein one or more of the news items is for presentation to one or more viewing users and relates to an activity that was performed by another user; a link component configured to attach a link associated with at least one of the activities of another user to at least one of the plurality of news items where the link enables a viewing user to participate in the same activity as the another user; a privacy component configured to limit access to the plurality of news items to a set of viewing users; and a media generator configured to display a news feed comprising two or more of the plurality of news items to at least one viewing user of the predetermined set of viewing users.

17. The system of claim 16, wherein the social network environment is a segmented community.

18. The system of claim 16, wherein at least one informational link comprises a dropdown menu.

19. The system of claim 16, further comprising an active link component configured to attach an active link associated with at least one of the plurality of activities to at least one of the plurality of news items.

20. The system of claim 16, wherein the display order component is configured to assign the order to the plurality of news items generated according to an order of occurrence of the plurality of news items.

21. The system of claim 16, wherein the privacy component is configured to limit the access to users of the network environment.

22. The system of claim 16, wherein the privacy component is configured to limit the access according to privacy settings determined by the user of the social network environment.

23. The system of claim 16, further comprising a dynamic list component configured to remove a predetermined news item from the plurality of news items and add a new news item to the plurality of news items.

24. A computer readable medium having embodied thereon a program, the program being executable by a processor for performing a method for displaying a news feed, the method comprising: monitoring a plurality of activities in a social network environment; storing the plurality of activities in a database; generating a plurality of news items regarding one or more of the activities, wherein one or more of the news items is for presentation to one or more viewing users and relates to an activity that was performed by another user; attaching a link associated with at least one of the activities of another user to at least one of the plurality of news items where the link enables a viewing user to participate in the same activity as the another user; limiting access to the plurality of news items to a set of viewing users; and displaying a news feed comprising two or more of the plurality of news items to at least one viewing user of the predetermined set of viewing users.

25. The computer readable medium of claim 24, further comprising attaching an active link associated with at least one of the plurality of activities to at least one of the plurality of news items.

Description

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

The present application incorporates by reference U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 60/750,844 filed on Dec. 14, 2005 for “Systems and Methods for Social Mapping,” U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 60/753,810 filed on Dec. 23, 2005 for “Systems and Methods for Social Timeline,” U.S. patent. application Ser. No. 11/493,291 filed on Jul. 25, 2006 for “Systems and Methods for Dynamically Generating a Privacy Summary,” U.S. patent application Ser. No. 11/502,757 filed on Aug. 11, 2006 for “Systems and Methods for Generating Dynamic Relationship-Based Content Personalized for Members of a Web-Based Social Network,” U.S. patent application Ser. No. 11/503,093 filed on Aug. 11, 2006 for “Systems and Methods for Measuring User Affinity in a Social Network Environment,” and U.S. patent application Ser. No. 11/503,037 filed on Aug. 11, 2006 for “Systems and Methods for Providing Dynamically Selected Media Content to a User of an Electronic Device in a Social Network Environment.”

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates generally to dynamic news presentation in a social network, and more particularly to systems and methods for dynamically presenting a news feed about a particular person.

2. Description of Related Art

Conventionally, a user of a networking website connects with other users by providing information about the user to a social network website for access by the other users. For example, a user may post contact information, background information, current job position, hobbies, and so forth. Other users may contact the user and/or review information about the user based on common interests or for any other reason.

Recently, social networking websites have developed systems for tailoring connections between various users. For example, users may be grouped based on geographical location, job type, and so forth. Social networking offers users the opportunity for frequent, automatic notification of changes in the information posted by other users. In other words, rather than having to initiate calls or emails to learn news of another user, a user of a social networking website may passively receive alerts to new postings by other users.

There are existing mechanisms that allow a user to display information about other users. Some mechanisms may allow the user to select particular news items for immediate viewing. Typically, however, these news items are disparate and disorganized. In other words, the user must spend time researching a news topic by searching for, identifying, and reading individual news items that are not presented in a coherent, consolidated manner. Often, many of the news are not relevant to the user. Just as often, the user remains unaware of the existence of some news items that were not captured in the user’s research. What is needed is an automatically generated display that contains information relevant to a user about another user of a social network.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

A method for displaying a news feed in a social network environment is described. In some embodiments, the method includes generating news items regarding activities associated with a user of a social network environment and attaching an informational link associated with at least one of the activities, to at least one of the news items. The method further includes limiting access to the news items to a predetermined set of viewers and assigning an order to the news items. The method further includes displaying the news items in the assigned order to at least one viewing user of the predetermined set of viewers.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 illustrates an exemplary environment for generating a news feed in a social network environment;

FIG. 2 is a block diagram of an exemplary social network provider;

FIG. 3 is a block diagram of an exemplary mini-feed engine;

FIG. 4 is an exemplary screen shot of one or more news items displayed to the viewing user 101a; and

FIG. 5 is a flow diagram of an exemplary process for generating and displaying a news feed in a social network environment.

You can read the rest of the patent here — Dynamically providing a news feed about a user of a social network

Key Takeaway

Acquiring the patent for news feeds is big for Facebook, it would be interesting to see what they do about this patent and how it affects the rest of the social networking space outside and within the enterprise.

BOOKMARK FOR REFERENCE

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Date : Thursday, February 25, 2010
Author : Milo
Translations : Thursday, February 25, 2010
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