Saturday, January 03, 2015

Facebook patents a tech to provide socially relevant ads - US 8,924,406

On December 30, 2014 the United States Patent Office awarded Facebook a patent titled "Ranking search results using social-networking information" US 8,924,406 ( Inventors: Christopher Lunt, Nicholas Galbreath, Jeffrey Winner).

The patent covers a technology that provides a new way to determine relevant ads and/or additional content shown to the user along the search results. According to the invention, a search engine takes into account the popularity of sponsored links associated with the results. The popularity is calculated based on clicks in the user's social network and a social relevancy threshold (degrees of separation).

From a business perspective, Facebook continues strengthening its challenge to the Google "relevant ads" model created in the early 2000s. Today, some of you may already see sponsored relevant links inserted in your Facebook stream or page. The patent would be a good illustration to the brief discussion "GOOGLE VERSUS FACEBOOK: THE BATTLE FOR THE CONTROL" Max and I outlined in Chapter 22 of our book Scalable Innovation.

Another interesting aspect of the patent: it shows the brave new "Me-centric" world of social networking (see Fig 1 above). From a technical and business perspective it indicates a large-scale transition from relational (excel-like rows and columns) representations of data to a graph-based one, with nodes and edges. The patent also provides a good working definition of a social network:
the social-networking system comprising a graph that comprises a plurality of nodes and edges connecting the nodes, each edge between two nodes representing a relationship between them and establishing a single degree of separation between them, wherein the first user corresponds to a first node of the graph.
tags: patent, facebook, innovation, invention, social, networking, search, control, internet

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