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September 16 2013

The Online Activity That's Keeping You Unemployed

You've heard it before: "The Internet is forever." So you should know that when your friend posts a picture of you staggeringly drunk on Facebook, it may come back to haunt you.

Businesses are now using social networking sites to scope out applicants, and that embarrassing picture — and other bad behavior found on your profile — may make your job search more difficult.

In a recent Jobvite survey, over 40% of companies said they reconsidered candidates based on the content of their social profiles, including Facebook, Twitter and Google+.

Employers are more likely to view a candidate negatively if there are signs of illegal drug use or posts of a sexual nature on their profiles. Positive posts can influence decisions as well; over 60% of companies involved in the study said that evidence of volunteering or other charitable acts reflected well on the applicant Read more...

More about Social Networking, Social Media, Features, Business, and Infographics

August 17 2013

Singer Taio Cruz Debuts KeWe Social App

Singer-songwriter Taio Cruz, who famously performed during the London Olympics closing ceremony in 2012, is entering the social networking cosmos with a new app intended to mash up functions from existing apps such as Facebook, Foursquare, Instagram and WhatsApp

KeWe — a portmanteau of "Key" and "We" (as in "KeWe is the Key to the We") — is Cruz's first foray into the app market. Cruz's firm, Tourean, gave Mashable an exclusive look at the KeWe iOS app, which was just unleashed as a pre-release in the iTunes Store.

More about Social, Social Networking, Social Media, Celebrities, and Photography
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July 02 2013

Facebook's Big Gay Question

Most technology companies have vague mission statements that put a feel-good gloss on how they make money. This weekend, Facebook actually lived up to its claimed ambition "to make the world more open and connected."

Sara Sperling, Facebook's head of diversity and inclusion, dances next to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on the company's San Francisco Pride float. Sara Sperling, Facebook's head of diversity and inclusion, dances next to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on the company's San Francisco Pride float.

On Sunday, CEO Mark Zuckerberg, for the first time, joined the company's contingent of gay and lesbian Facebook employees and their supporters—some 700 of them, by the company's estimates—to march in San Francisco's Pride Parade. It was an unusually ebullient moment, given the past week's Supreme Court decisions striking down both California's ban on gay marriage and a federal mandate not to recognize such relationships.

The Rainbow Connection 

At the same time, the company shared some statistics that suggest the social network has had a role in raising awareness about gay and lesbian rights. In the United States, 7 out of 10 Facebook users in the U.S. are connected to a user who has "expressly identified as gay, lesbian, or bisexual on their timeline," Facebook reported. Some 25 million users changed their profile picture, a spike in activity that often reflects a thematic response to holidays or news events.

While Facebook didn't come out and say it, it's entirely reasonable to think that the rise of social media played a role in accelerating the shift in views.

Zuckerberg's presence at Pride was just the latest gesture of support by the social network, which has a long history of friendliness to gays. One of its cofounders, Chris Hughes, is gay; when he married Sean Eldridge, Facebook created a same-sex marriage icon for the couple and others like them to post on their timelines.

Tomorrow The World 

The challenge for Facebook: Can it take its campaign for openness global? Can it, in short, export the Northern California values of its workforce around the world?

A spokesperson for Facebook said the company would "decline to speculate" on how Zuckerberg's appearance in the Pride Parade would play with Facebook users overseas, which leaves us with the job.

A disclosure is warranted here: I am gay and have lived almost my entire postcollegiate life in San Francisco. Since 2008, I've been in a marriage that the Supreme Court only recently decided the federal government must recognize. I also have gay friends who work at Facebook.

Interestingly, Facebook has never had an option that allows you to identify as "gay" or "lesbian" in your profile. Instead, you list your gender, and the gender of people you're interested in. Do a search for "gay men" on Facebook, and Facebook's Graph Search feature gently corrects you to look for "men interested in men" instead. (That's why Facebook had to analyze users' timelines, rather than the data in their profiles, for expressions of sexual identity.)

Here's how Facebook's Graph Search feature interprets the term "gay." Here's how Facebook's Graph Search feature interprets the term "gay."

Hilariously or sadly or simply illuminatively, many Facebook users in countries outside the United States don't seem to recognize the implied sexual nature of this interest, leading to far more "men interested in men" and "women interested in women" than you'd expect. Once you get past the knee-jerk giggles, it's a sign of how the cultural values of Facebook's designers and engineers inevitably shape the product in ways that don't always travel well.

Reaching The Next Billion

Currently, India is on track to becoming the biggest country for Facebook. It's projected to overtake the United States and Brazil in 2014. Indonesia is likewise growing quickly. Neither country is known for being particularly friendly to gays or lesbians. Many countries in Africa have even more hostile regimes.

Facebook's next billion users will come from places where it's much harder for gays, lesbians, and bisexuals to be open and share.

Facebook employees march in Sunday's San Francisco Pride Parade. Facebook employees march in Sunday's San Francisco Pride Parade.

That's the sobering thought that Facebookers, gay and straight, must face. As laudable as it is for them to stand up for equal treatment at home, many of their users face far greater struggles for equality. In some countries, even using Facebook can put gays and lesbians at risk if a "friend" exposes them.

In that regard, Facebook is no better or worse than the societies it operates in. Yet Zuckerberg's stand on Sunday suggests that the company aims not just to reflect the world, but to improve it.

That is the hope—dare I say, the missionary zeal—that surely motivates Facebook employees. (Let's be real: I doubt most of Facebook's rank and file board their shuttle buses every morning pumped up to sell ads.)

The tension they face is how to make this a natural outcome of a platform for connecting people, not an all-too-American company's mission civilisatrice. It risks a blowback among the very people it hopes to reach and bind together in a more tightly linked world. One of Facebook's internal mottos for employees encourages them to "move fast and break things." I'm not sure that approach works for complex social issues like gay rights.

But perhaps I am too timid.

Another Facebook slogan asks: "What would you do if you weren't afraid?"

Maybe what you'd do is openly advocate for what you know in your heart is right.

Photos courtesy of Facebook

August 22 2012

Why Your Employer Shouldn’t Ban Facebook [INFOGRAPHIC]

Sure, maybe Facebook does distract you a bit during the day, but the real distraction, according to workers questioned for a new survey, is chatty coworkers (14%), followed closely by computer glitches and meetings (both at 11%). Only 5% of workers said Facebook and Twitter is their biggest distraction at the office. In fact, 44% said social networks increase productivity.

Employers have been banning social networking sites since they started, but in the past several years some workplaces are recognizing the benefits -- and sometimes necessity -- of social networks for both their employees' satisfaction and business.

Another survey about Facebook in the workplace showed that using th…
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More About: Facebook, Twitter, social networking, workplace

July 31 2012

HootSuite Now Lets You Create Storify Posts, Save to Evernote

Social media management dashboard HootSuite added three new app plugins Tuesday: storytelling curation tool Storify, note-taking platform Evernote and help desk management tool Zendesk.

App plugins allow people to send content from HootSuite such as Twitter and Facebook items to third-party applications such as Storify and Zendesk. Evernote for HootSuite comes as an app stream and plugin.

To begin using the apps, people must install them via the 8-month-old App Directory.

Here's what each new plugin does, according to HootSuite:

Storify: "For users who want to curate social media posts into stories to publish and amplify the social media they monitor on HootSuite, the…
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More About: Social Media, Storify, evernote, hootsuite, social networking, zendesk

May 10 2012

May 06 2012

February 15 2012

Twitter Tool Will Help Journalists Break News [VIDEO]

A new software tool will help journalists see breaking news tweets as they are happening. The program, called Seriously Rapid Source Review, is still under development — but will act like a sieve that pull tweets from key sources currently sharing reports, images and video from the ground.

Researchers at Rutgers University and Microsoft developed Seriously Rapid Source Review to give journalists access to breaking news like never before. Reporters won’t have to comb the web — or Twitter’s 200 million tweets a day — for sources.

Nick Diakopoulos, one of the project’s authors, stated in a blog post that the program was built to deal with how much news is breaking on social media these days. Its features should help journalists distinguish accurate and trustworthy sources.

SRSR features include automatic identification of eyewitnesses with approximate 89% precision and will list users in various archetypes — journalists, bloggers, organizations or unaffiliated citizens.

To avoid a false tweet problem, such as the preemptive report of Penn State football coach Joe Paterno’s death in January, SRSR will use context clues to assess the verity and credibility on sources based on their Twitter profiles. The program will determine where a person says they are, plus look at the locations of friends and followers within a source’s network.

Another component will look at the top five most mentioned companies, people or places mentioned in someone’s feed.

The SRSR culls data from Twitter profiles, user-provided descriptions, data from follower and following lists. A report based on a search term will compile the sources sharing tweets that match the search terms.

SEE ALSO: How Whitney Houston News Broke — and Exploded — on Twitter

The SRSR is still in its development stage. The researchers have not used been able to use real-time Tweets because of limitations in applying the Twitter API. For this project researchers used pre-collected and processed data from Twitter.

As for using the current prototype to catch the first couple tweets about Whitney Houston’s death, Diakopoulos tells The Poynter Institute, it’s unlikely that SRSR would have caught the very first tweets. Future developments, however, can lead to these connections.

Tell us in the comments if you personally take steps to verify tweets before retweeting or reporting news.

[via Poynter]

More About: journalism, Social Media, social networking, Twitter

February 10 2012

February 08 2012

Marketers Who Share Content Drive Traffic, Gain Customers [INFOGRAPHIC]

Content marketing was a top priority for businesses in 2011, and it is going to remain so in 2012. That’s according to a study conducted by the Content Marketing Institute, a marketing education and research company.

In the past year, marketers distributed more business-to-business content on YouTube, LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter than ever, according to CMI.

Content marketing encompasses new techniques and methods of sharing information. Spreading unique, helpful bits within the industry or with consumers creates brand awareness, new customers and client loyalty. Businesses should be sharing information from company research and client data. Data can be displayed in web infographics, articles outlining business tips, videos and slideshows.

SEE ALSO: Going Viral Visualized [INFOGRAPHIC]

This BlueGlass Interactive infographic suggests businesses look at Coca-Cola, Mint.com and American Express as examples of companies that are sharing great content. Coca-Cola has a huge online presence on Facebook, Twitter and other avenues where customers and potential clients can share ideas, photos and videos.

The companies outlined below make interactive material that people want to share, and, in turn, new methods of content marketing means new avenues to reach and converse with your customers.

What new and traditional social networking sites does your company use? Tell us in the comments.

Content Marketing Explosion

Thumbnail image courtesy of Flickr, feel-the-silence.

More About: Business, content marketing, Google, infographic, Marketing, Social Media, social networking

For more Business coverage:

February 06 2012

Fed Up With Facebook Changes? Try Friendio [VIDEO]

A group of former Facebook users based in Orland Park, Ill., fed up with the mandatory changes that came with Facebook’s network-wide switch to Timeline, has created Friendio for Facebook defectors.

Friendio is an alternative social network to Facebook that promises more privacy and control, say its creators. The new social network feels like a pared-down Facebook, with similar tabs and capabilities for friend requests, messages and notifications.

“Friendio does not modify privacy settings, nor do we force people to create a scrapbook of their life,” said Doug Freitag, the company’s president in a statement.

Friendio is trying to distinguish itself from Facebook Timeline, pushing the slogan, “It’s all about you.” The layout and theme of Friendio are completely customizable. The company also allows open access to its API for developers and curious users to play around with the new tool.

Ranked high in the site’s ethos is the fact that its privacy policy will never change. The creators want to take a stand against mandatory changes and additions users may not want such as Facebook’s implementation of Timeline.

After registering for a Friendio Network profile, users will receive a confirmation email that looked eerily like a Facebook email. The new company has adopted Facebook’s blue banner in its emails. Friendio, which has its own Facebook page (see video above), allows users to log into Facebook to invite your friends to join you.

SEE ALSO: My Life Without Facebook: A Social Experiment

On this new social network there are new photo, music and video sharing capabilities. Plus, Facebook-like Friendio pages that operate like fan pages — both share a “like” button. Check out the Friendio Fandango page, complete with a wall for comments and tabs for info, notes, events, music, photos and videos.

Will you be switching to Friendio — or giving it a try?

Thumbnail image courtesy of Flickr, magerleagues.

More About: Facebook, mashable video, Social Media, social networking, startup

January 19 2012

Mustaches Prevail on Gentlemint, the Pinterest Site for ‘Manly Men’

What’s more manly than a mustache?

Not much, if you ask co-founders Glen Stansberry and Brian McKinney, co-founders of the recently launched Gentlemint.com — a Pinterest-inspired site for “manly men.”

“We wanted to add an old-school, ‘gentlemanly’ feel,” Stansberry says of the ‘stache logo. “Kind of like a Teddy Roosevelt persona….Pre-hipster.”

A monocled man with a ‘stache serves as the logo for the site, which went public this week and is currently “invite-only.” But it’s easy to get access to the site — just click on “request an invite” to get an invitation sent to your email and then you’re in.

Gentlemint’s love of mustaches — plus users’ evident enthusiasm for lip hair (the picture above is a mustache tie-clip someone posted) — adds a bit of kookiness to the site. A rave review from the American Mustache Institute (yes, that’s a real thing) displayed at the top of the site proclaims that Gentlemint is, “…one of the more manly websites on the planet.”

“When we were designing the site we just kept having fun with the idea of the manly mustache and elements like that, so we went with it,” Stansberry says. “It’s supposed to be fun, silly, useful and entertaining — something that appeals to everyone.”

If you’re the type to post cute kitten videos, take note: Gentlemint is having none of that girlishness.

The manly site is similar to Pinterest but without the pictures of high heels, glittery manicures and wedding dresses.

Users post content, such as photos with a short blurb, and other users can comment and click on the moustache logo that also serves as a “like” button. Gentlemint connects to Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus. Sift through pages of entertaining pictures and articles to vote on your favorites. Posts with more support get pushed toward the sites’s first page.

The two co-founders currently work day jobs together at a web software company in Kansas. Initially, they wanted to challenge themselves to build a website in one day. They worked for 12 hours and — boom! — Gentlemint was created. Since then, they’ve fine tuned and added more features. Stansberry says they hope to eventually have an app for iOS and Android devices.

The site is a veritable playground for men. Posts include instructions on the proper way to kick-in a door (don’t jump), rundowns on unique products including rum soap and a meat-mallet four-finger ring, and a discussion of “interesting Big Lebowski art.”

Don’t worry, though — while Gentlemint is a definite boys’ club, it does play nice with girls.

There’s no gender-check when you join to the site. Women can sign-up but if you post, say, a picture of a wedding ring, it might not make it to the first page or be on the site for long.

“We really want to focus Gentlemint on the type of content that is interesting to us,” Stansberry says. “Anyone can pretty much post anything they want, but we want the focus of the site to be the type of content we built Gentlemint for.”

Studies have shown that women are more active social media consumers than men, except on Google +. But some publications are hoping to tap-into the male readership market. Cosmopolitan magazine launched a men-only version for iPads in August 2011. Although Gentlemint doesn’t yet appear to be the type of site where men can read about manscaping and hot bedroom moves, their content is eclectic and entertaining.

“It really has less to do with being a male or female, or kittens or bacon, and more to do with encouraging users to add stuff around that theme,” Stansberry says.

What do you think about Gentlemint? Sound off in the comments.

Photo courtesy of Gentlemint

More About: mustache, pinterest, social networking

For more Dev & Design coverage:

Orkut App Finally Arrives for iPhone, iPad

Orkut App

Popular Brazilian-based social networking site Orkut has finally gotten its own app for the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch.

The free app for Orkut – a site launched by Google in 2004 which now has 66 million active members – allows users to post status updates, pictures and chat with others.

However, the app is slightly overdue. In fact, earlier this week it was revealed that Facebook overtook Orkut as Brazil’s most-popular social network in December. Its popularity in Brazil — where 60% of Orkut’s users are based — led to it being hosted and managed by Google Brazil from 2008 onwards.

In addition, Google+ is also picking up steam in Brazil. It alone raked in 4.3 million users last month.

But even still, the app has been much-anticipated for awhile now and Orkut users will certainly be glad to finally gain access to the site on the go. The app is now available for download via the Apple App Store.

More About: Facebook, orkut, social networking

January 18 2012

Facebook Makes You Smarter, Thanks to Friends You Don’t Talk To [STUDY]

Facebook Strong Ties vs. Weak Ties

Information being shared on Facebook is highly diverse and coming to you mostly from people you rarely talk to, says the latest Facebook Data Team Study.

The Facebook Data Team examined users’ strong ties and weak ties by the number of comments, messages and photos people have in common. It turns out, those old friends and acquaintances you only see at reunions, influence your media consumption more than you might think.

Don’t discount the memes or news links your weak-tie friends share. You see those a lot. Researchers cite that you are 10-times more likely to share “novel content,” that you would otherwise have not seen, from a weak-tie friend.

“In short, weak ties have the greatest potential to expose their friends to information that they would not have otherwise discovered,” states the study.

And the reason you see more of that diverse information from weak-tie friends: More of your friends are likely weak ties. If someone has 100 friends — the number of great friends and OK friends will tip with the majority being weak ties.

However, birds of a feather still stick together on social networking platforms (see graphic above). Strong-tie friends are still more likely see and share the same links their friends are sticking on their walls. The people you share weak ties with will be interested in different things on websites that your group isn’t seeing.

SEE ALSO: Here’s How People Look at Your Facebook Profile — Literally

The study shows that social networks such as Facebook and Twitter work as community bulletin boards. Facebook users are more likely to consume and share information from their close contacts (frequent interaction), but people also consume more novel content — about new products and current events — shared by weaker contacts (infrequent interaction) because of their “abundance” on the network.

Do you feel like you consume and share more content from strong-tie friends or weak-tie friends? Tell us in the comments below.

More About: Facebook, social networking, study, Twitter

January 16 2012

Twitter to Play Crucial Role in South Carolina Republican Debate

Televised Republican debates are about to heat up — not only between the remaining five party presidential candidates — but between viewers using Twitter. Fox News hopes to open up the digital floor for comments during Monday’s Republican debate in Myrtle Beach, S.C., with a live Twitter debate.

Viewers are encouraged to share their thoughts over Twitter in real-time during Monday’s 9 p.m. ET debate. They can use the debate’s official hastag #scdebate as well as #answer and #dodge to convey sentiments about individual candidates. Simply attach a candidate’s name to #answer — if he has answered the question well — or #dodge — if he has diverted from the topic completely — and the Twitter data analysis system will do the rest. The results will be displayed on FoxNews.com.

Fox News Digital’s Vice President and General Manager Jeff Misenti told The New York Times that questions or concerns attached to these tweets will be incorporated into the conversation.

Fox’s Bret Baier will moderate the debate between former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, Rep. Ron Paul from Texas, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Texas Gov. Rick Perry. The debate follows former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman’s withdrawal from the presidential race and announcement that he will funnel support he’s seen during the race toward Romney.

SEE ALSO: Fox News, Google Join Forces for New Hampshire Primary

Twitter has stated that the use of social media during political debates gives the U.S. people a way to direct the conversation to topics of interest. The hot topic of the debate tonight may be South Carolina’s 10% unemployment rate. Will that be the center of the digital conversation? We’ll be waiting to find out.

Twitter has also set up a list of politicians, journalists and U.S. election staff for viewers to follow so they never miss a beat The list features Democratic strategist Donna Brazile, Fox’s Greta Van Susteran, Bret Baier and CNN Chief White House Correspondent Jessica Yellin.

This is not the first time the social media world has meshed with the political sphere on TV. Fox News and Twitter tracked live reactions during the Iowa debate on Dec. 15. NBC and Facebook also teamed up last week to host an online stream and conversation with a comment widget and digital polls.

Will you be tuning into Monday night’s Fox News debate and contributing your thoughts on Twitter? Let us know in the comments below.

Image courtesy of Flickr, IowaPolitics.com

More About: Fox, Media, Mobile, Social Media, social networking, television, TV, Twitter

January 13 2012

Facebook’s Buggiest Page Was Created on Purpose

Glitchr on Facebook

Lithuanian video artist Laimonas Zakas, who enjoys web production as a hobby, created a Facebook Page called Glitchr that messes with Facebook codes. The art project has garnered more than 12,657 likes so far.

Don’t be afraid to visit the harmless Facebook Page. It just takes your chat navigation line and causes it to appear in the sprawling line down your screen. Voila, art.

Zakas was inspired to start this project in May when he received a Facebook notification in a blue bubble instead of the standard red one. The coding only took a couple of hours.

Facebook Blue Bubble

“Don’t have any idea what caused it to become blue,” Zakas told Mashable. “I have always loved bugs and oddities on Facebook. Once I have noticed huge symbols, containing lots of diacritical marks, extending up and down, so I started experimenting with them and created a Facebook fan page to share the results. A bit later I have also created a blog and a Google+ page, but I’m mostly sharing on Facebook.”

Diacritical marks are accent marks that appear above, in or between letters.

Zakas continues to experiment with code and share them on Facebook. He has chosen to focus on working in the world’s largest social network because Google+ wasn’t launched at the time and Twitter’s 140-character limit is too low for codes. Plus, the instant feedback and sharing capabilities are better.

“I think that most of people who like Glitchr know what to expect from it and they don’t complain as it messes up their news feeds,” Zakas says, explaining the appeal of Glitchr that has caught the attention of various tech websites and art galleries that have offered to showcase Glitchr.

SEE ALSO: 6 Incredible Twitter Powered Art Projects

Since social media websites and platforms have taken over the Internet and mobile communication in the last couple years, social media-centered art initiatives have been prolific. Another recent one we’ve seen is the Foursquare-focused art thesis by University of Pennsylvania senior Tatiana Peisach, which displayed some of her 1,500+ Foursquare check-ins.

Have you seen any cool social media-centered art projects lately? Share a link or story in the comment section below.

More About: Facebook, facebook page, foursquare, Google, Social Media, social networking, Twitter

January 11 2012

How Humans Copy Animals on Facebook and Twitter [VIDEO]

Forget the Winklevoss twins. The next suit accusing Mark Zuckerberg of stealing the Facebook idea might just come from Flipper.

A study by scientists in the United Kingdom says that human use of social networks such as Facebook and Twitter mimics the ways animals including dolphins and monkeys have long shared information about their own lives and worlds.

“Social networks are the same across all species and, whilst details of their structure may differ, some properties remain the same whether we are looking at killer whales, spider monkeys or, indeed, humans,” University of Aberdeen biological sciences lecturer David Lusseau tells The Press Association.

Lusseau, who led the 10-year study on animal behavior, will present his findings next Wednesday in Aberdeen in a talk called, “Did Animals Invent Twitter?”

Lusseau’s project found that dolphins, whales, primates and hoofed animals all form groups to help make decisions efficiently and effectively to benefit the individual animals involved. Researchers liken this to the ways in which humans interact socially on Facebook and Twitter to exchange information and tailor group discussions to individual needs. And, just like when humans plan a party or outing via Facebook, certain animals tend to guide the conversations about where to locate food or avoid predators.

“Schools of dolphins provide an example of this,” Lusseau says. “As individuals, dolphins have their own daily needs to fulfill, such as resting and eating, but they are also concerned with what they should do next as a group. We find that group leaders can emerge simply in particular cases because they might know the current context better than the other members of the group.”

Lusseau’s research also found that all animals are linked to one another by shared sets of connections — much like humans are in the real world or on Facebook — and that the same six-degrees-of-separation concept even applies in the animal kingdom.

But, while human behavior on social networks may reflect that of mammals in the wild, as Lusseau says, there is still no evidence of a parallel Internet where animals giggle at photos of cuddly humans.

What do you think? Do Lusseau’s theories hold water? Or are they much ado about very little? Let us know in the comments.

More About: animal, Facebook, mashable video, social networking, Twitter

January 10 2012

January 08 2012

January 04 2012

Google Gets 200+ IBM Patents, Including One for a ‘Semantic Social Network’

social networking

Google got a late Christmas gift in the form of 217 patents, acquired by way of IBM. While the patents cover a variety of topics, one in particular could give the search giant a new tool for its social network, Google+.

The patents cover many different technologies, but they mainly deal with data services like email management, online calendars and transferring web apps between devices. The patent grab, first reported by SEO by the Sea, potentially serves two purposes: providing avenues to develop new products, and providing ammunition in litigation.

The latter reason is undoubtedly the primary one. The search giant had previously received more than 2,000 patents from IBM over the past year, a year that’s seen an unprecedented amount of lawsuits in the field of patent law. Most notoriously, Apple has sued, in one form or another, many companies involved in building devices for the Android platform, including HTC, LG, and Motorola. Apple even won a recent case, which effectively forces HTC to stop selling certain devices in the U.S. or create a software fix.

By shoring up its patent portfolio, Google will be that much stronger when in its defense of Android. A big reason behind the company’s $12.5 billion acquisition of Motorola Mobility this past summer was to get its hands on Motorola’s large cache of patents (24,000, including pending ones).

On the product development side, it’s anyone’s guess which of the IBM patents may become future products, but social-media watchers might be interested in U.S. Patent 7,865,592: “Using semantic networks to develop a social network.”

The patent details how a social network could be leveraged to lead users to find “experts” or like-minded enthusiasts on specific topics. As the patent’s summary describes, “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.”

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.

Might we see a Google+ expand its abilities someday with the semantic social network patent? And is it something you’d be interested in? Let us know in the comments.

More About: android, Google, IBM, patents, semantic search, social networking

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