Google have acquired 217+ IBM patents in the run up to the end of 2011. The patents are varied and one has attracted the attention of the press, as it may offer the company another tool for their social networking development.
Several publications, including Mashable are discussing the new IBM based patents as they cover a variety of services such as email management and transferring web applications between devices. One of the main topics of conversation however is that the patent purchasing helps protect them during potential, upcoming legal battles with other giants, such as Apple. Apple are proving a thorn in the side for Google Android partners as they have already sued some of their partners, such as LG and HTC.
This is part of the reason why Google found the takeover of Motorola so inticing. By purchasing the brand, they not only gained access to the their development teams, but also a staggering 24,000 patents.
The recent IBM patent addition in December adds a patent which is causing much discussion in social media networks. U.S. Patent 7,865,592 – “Using Semantic networks to develop a social network” proves interesting as it says “A method, apparatus and program product are provided for identifying common interests between users of a communication network. … [Interests] may be determined, for example, by calculating a ratio of the number of words in a content source to the time spent viewing the content.”
In a nutshell, the algorithm could lead the average user in the direction of experts in the specific field they need. Mashable expand on this saying “For example, you may want to find someone knowledgeable about real estate in a specific neighborhood to ask for buying advice. But the right person may not list that as an “interest,” so you may not be able to easily find them in your expanded network (which includes friends of friends). A semantic network would find the right person to talk to by analyzing which people in your network post content having to do with the specific topic, and how much time others spend reading it.”
Kitguru says: Google are strengthening their market position. There is no doubt a lot of this is to protect the Android platform and to ensure Apple can’t exploit weaknesses in their business infrastructure.