Friendster Patents Social Networking
The patent summary reads:
A method and apparatus for calculating, displaying and acting upon relationships in a social network is described. A computer system collects descriptive data about various individuals and allows those individuals to indicate other individuals with whom they have a personal relationship. The descriptive data and the relationship data are integrated and processed to reveal the series of social relationships connecting any two individuals within a social network. The pathways connecting any two individuals can be displayed. Further, the social network itself can be displayed to any number of degrees of separation. A user of the system can determine the optimal relationship path (i.e., contact pathway) to reach desired individuals. A communications tool allows individuals in the system to be introduced (or introduce themselves) and initiate direct communication.
While Friendster started out as a pioneer in social networking, it’s been downhill from there, having been overtaken in terms of volume by such competitors as MySpace (to date the most popular social networking site) and Facebook, business-oriented networking site LinkedIn, and having lost to others in terms of features, usability, and (arguably) the cool factor.
With this patent being granted, I’d count on friendster trying to grab a piece of the revenue pie by going after its competitors through licensing. I do hope Friendster gets to earn money from this endeavor–so they can finally afford to hire good designers. The site needs a design overhaul!