Key Social Search Patent Awarded to Facebook

facebookYesterday, Facebook was awarded what could be a key social search patent for “Ranking search results based on the frequency of clicks on the search results by members of a social network who are within a predetermined degree of separation“.

Summary of the Invention

According to an embodiment of the invention, search results, including sponsored links and algorithmic search results, are generated in response to a query, and are ranked based on the frequency of clicks on the search results by members of social network who are within a predetermined degree of separation from the member who submitted the query. The predetermined degree of separation is equal to one if the click activities of only the friends of the member who submitted the query are to be examined.

A search result may also be marked based on its click history. In one embodiment, a search result is marked with an image or a text string if there was a single click on the search result by a friend of the member who submitted the query. In other embodiments, the frequency of clicks by members of social network who are within a predetermined degree of separation from the member who submitted the query is examined. If such frequency exceeds a minimum value, the associated search result is marked with an image or a text string.

Although this patent was originally filed back in 2004, and may not have be all that important to Facebook’s current business objectives, it will be interesting to see if it has any impact on the future of social and search, especially with the competition between Facebook and Google continuing to heat up.

If nothing else, this patent has likely put up some major roadblocks in Google and Twitter’s social search experimentation and plans.

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