Friday, January 16, 2015

Linking users and concepts - a Facebook patent

Facebook continues building up a strong patent portfolio for graph-based technologies. On January 6, 2015 the USPTO awarded the company US 8,930,378 patent on a social-like network between users and concepts. The patent is titled "Labeling samples in a similarity graph", inventors Pierre Moreels and Andrei Alexandrescu.

On the figure above, circles with Us in them mean users and circles with city names mean concepts. The dotted lines show a calculated confidence level that a particular concept is "linked" to a user who is not connected to it directly.
Since the concept can describe anything in the real as well as abstract world, Facebook patented a technology that figures out the user's connection to objects, places, and other stuff based on the user's social connections.

For completeness, here's Claim 1 (click to enlarge):
The claim looks very clever, but it's hard to believe that the idea has not been covered in the prior art. Detecting infringement of the patent would also be quite difficult because an accused piece of software would be embedded deep down in the guts of a server-based implementation.

tags: patent, facebook, graph, social, networking, internet, portfolio

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