Thursday, March 17, 2011

US 7,890,501 to Facebook

US 7,890,501 titled Visual tags for search results generated from social network information to Facebook comprises 18 claims of which claims 6-10 are directed to a "system." Independent claim 6 states:

A system for processing requests from a third party in a social network, comprising:
a member database storing data records of a plurality of members of the social network; and
a processing unit configured to generate identification markers corresponding to data records stored in the member database, wherein the processing unit is further configured to: receive a request from a third party system that manages a third party database to identify relationship information of at least one member having a user record in the third party database, the request including an identification marker of the member, identify the relationship information of the member having the identification marker in the member database of the social network by locating a record stored in the member database having an identification marker that matches the identification marker of the member, and identifying records stored in the member database corresponding to individuals related to the member, and return the identified relationship information to the third party system, the identified relationship information including identification markers generated from records stored in the member database corresponding to individuals who are related to the member.

The patent defines a social network:

A social network is generally defined by the relationships among groups of individuals, and may include relationships ranging from casual acquaintances to close familial bonds. A social network may be represented using a graph structure. Each node of the graph corresponds to a member of the social network. Edges connecting two nodes represent a relationship between two individuals. In addition, the degree of separation between any two nodes is defined as the minimum number of hops required to traverse the graph from one node to the other. A degree of separation between two members is a measure of relatedness between the two members.


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