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Google Social Networks Patents Spam Technology

Google Patenting 'Exponential' Friend Spamming 64

Posted by Soulskill
from the zuckerberg-beat-you-to-the-punch dept.
theodp writes "'The web is better when it's social,' declared Google as it unveiled its OpenSocial initiative. Sounds great, right? Well, maybe not so much, unless you're keen on giving companies the capability to 'exponentially' bombard you with advertising across all of your social networking sites. On Thursday, the USPTO published Google's patent application for Propagating Promotional Information on a Social Network, which the search giant explains 'generally relates to creating and providing promotional information (e.g., advertising, public service announcements, etc.) to users of a social network (e.g., FACEBOOK, MYSPACE, ORKUT, LINKEDIN, TWITTER, etc.).' By doing so 'across multiple social networks,' Google adds, 'the impact of the other promotional information may exponentially expand to other users of a social network."
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Google Patenting 'Exponential' Friend Spamming

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  • I really don't understand what's being proposed here ... but then I guess that's probably okay just as long as I buy more pointless shit as a result.
    • I can't be sure, but I think basically they want to be able to tell if you are you across your facebook AND your twitter to be sure to target your ads specifically to you. And then if you sign up for a LinkedIn you'll also already be profiled.

      I think anyways. I've always imagined that some of this kind of stuff already goes down, but I suppose Goog's just wants the rights to be the only one allowed to do it? Like patenting their idea to track you everywhere?

      I dunno. I'm rather apathetic today. Probably some

      • Don't they already know this using Flash cookies?

      • I don't get that "targeted ads" thing at all.

        Yes, if I search for flatscreen TV I'll quite probably click on ads offering flatscreen TVs*. Now, if I search for 555 datasheet, I probably won't click on any ad sayig things like "buy datasheets online". Google can know all that whithout looking what I do the rest of the time, so they must target for other kinds of ads.

        So, there is, if I'm visiting a blog, it's quite useless to Google to know that I searched for flatscreen TVs last week**, I'm way more likely

        • Then you have not kept up with how "targeted ads" work at all.

          The "Search" part of it is actually the most minimal part of it. Merely by mentioning "Video Games" in my Likes on Facebook, and using it at my home computer, I'd now opened myself up to Adservers to track my IP, and give me endless ads for World of Warcraft.

          Basically, they want to know you better by using social networking to track who your friends are and what their interests are, because friends usually share similar interests.

          Sure, I might no

          • So, they are going for my third alternative. As I said, I'd even pay for it, but even google seems unable to do that job.

        • if I search for 555 datasheet, I probably won't click on any ad sayig things like "buy datasheets online".

          A friend of mine runs an industry trade show. One time he was doing a periodic google of the name of his show, when he noticed some of the paid ads off to the side were saying "Buy [name of his trade show] here!"

          He found it pretty amusing, and idiotic.

      • by sorak (246725)

        I can't tell by reading it, but it sounds like they are patenting at least two things:

        a). The ability to tie all information together (as you said), and tie it not just to some anonymous cookie, but also to your account (which is not so simple using cookies alone), but also to your friends list.

        b). The ability to tailor ads to your friends based on what they gather from you. You like crazy goat porn? Your friends will start seeing ads for it. Not only that, but this will happen on twitter, Linkdin, and ever

        • You like crazy goat porn? Your friends will start seeing ads for it.

          I'm removing any 4chan friends immediately.

    • Looks like they want to link and propagate ads. It's likely interesting for the advertisers - they'd be able to put together a string of ads based on what the user has seen across multiple sites and tailor them to specific 'likes'. For us, just more stuff to ad-block.

    • by arisvega (1414195)
      Google is filing a patent for spamming.
  • by Yvan256 (722131) on Friday December 31, 2010 @11:37AM (#34722422) Homepage Journal

    This is Slashdot. We have no friends!

    • I feel it's not often enough that WE point out the obvious oddity that WE all can Identify together and laugh at the jokes WE share, even put each other on a friend/foe list, But the underlying meme WE all keep coming back to is WE have no friends!

      You can call it super lame and totally laugh at me, but there are a few people on here that I barely even interact with that I would consider myself a "Friend" with even if it isn't mutual.

      For example, I would be thrilled to bump into Eldavojohn at a conference an

    • by Punk CPA (1075871)
      I thought this was Sparta?
  • by Drakkenmensch (1255800) on Friday December 31, 2010 @11:51AM (#34722566)
    This is how the internet ends. Not with government censorship or technological breakdown, but with corporate sponsored spam suffocation.
    • The thing is, if advertising gets really, really good, I see that as a good thing. There are a lot of "long tail" items which I've never heard about, but which I'm sure I'd find useful. If I could be exposed to those (privacy concerns notwithstanding...), that'd be pretty neat. As it is, though, I just ignore essentially all advertising.
    • Well I do have to say a bit of disagreement on bandwidth suffocation. Whether you like or hate google you do have to admit their philosophies saved bandwidth and lowered suffocation. Before google started getting big, the general philosophies of advertisers was, OK nobodies clicking our ads, make them bigger make them louder, prevent access to the page until they have aired

      Google started focusing on the idea, No matter how loud you scream it or how much you force them to watch, a 21 year old single man isn

  • Are they really trying to patent updating several social networks with the same inane post? I'm pretty sure prior art on that goes back as far as 12 year olds have been on the internet.
    • by sorak (246725)

      Prior Art:

      "First post"
      "frosty piss"
      "Natalie Portman naked and petrified"

      Thank you Slashdot trolls! You might have defeated this thing...

  • Good. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Ant P. (974313) on Friday December 31, 2010 @12:02PM (#34722646) Homepage

    Now that they've patented it, all the other big players won't be able to do it and it'll be easier to adblock from one central origin.

    • Now that they've patented it, all the other big players won't be able to do it and it'll be easier to adblock from one central origin.

      Nah ... they'll just cross-license.

    • by Fnord666 (889225)

      On Thursday, the USPTO published Google's patent application...

    • We'll just ask everyone to openly declare they are spamming as they re-tweet every openly declared spam message they get. Yeah, that'll work.
  • "creating and providing promotional information"

    When I first discovered the internet (in autumn 1984), it had no "promotional information" on it. No spam, no astroturfing, no tracking of your every move. It isn't clear to me what, exactly, was broken with that model, or why since then everybody has become so keen on giving away all their personal information to for-profit companies so that they even *could* be bombarded with "promotional information". Why did we start to tolerate the spam and the trackin

    • by hedwards (940851)
      The brokenness was that for a small network it doesn't take much to keep it running, but with a huge network it costs a lot of money. You pay your ISP for access, but somebody on the other end has to pay to provide the other bit of service. For P2P type things that other party is paying their ISP, but for services like slashdot, somebody has to cover the bandwidth and various other costs.
      • by Anonymous Coward

        OK, but that doesn't mean that we need services like Facebook to talk to our friends or interesting strangers. People were communicating just fine on the internet for decades before Facebook, Twitter, and so forth came along. There's no need to give up all your personal data and let yourself be logged and tracked just to communicate on the internet.

  • by Jay L (74152) * <jay+slashNO@SPAMjay.fm> on Friday December 31, 2010 @12:20PM (#34722772) Homepage

    There once was a shampoo that somebody liked. And she told two friends, and they told two friends, and they told two friends, and so on, and so on, and so on [youtube.com].

    • There once was a shampoo that somebody liked. And she told two friends, and they told two friends, and they told two friends, and so on, and so on, and so on [youtube.com].

      I think it's more like, "And she told two friends the first day, and they all told two friends the second day, and they all told two friends the third day ..." Next thing you know, there are more ads than grains of sand in the Universe.

    • by Dhalka226 (559740)

      Okay. So Google can't patent word-of-mouth. Being as that is neither a website (which ALL of their examples are and which they explicitly claim), is not across multiple social networks even if it were, and doesn't meet the claims of the patent that are ACTUALLY patented and not the abstract describing in generic terms what it is about, I fail to see what value you think your post has.

      If you don't know how patents work or what prior art is, that's fine. Don't post acting as if you do. The seemingly-con

    • Yes, that idea, but then "on a computer". That's a big difference there. (cough)

  • they wants their PhDs back.

  • Patenting something just means it's an idea someone came up with. A patent is cheap and it may just be something to use in the future in case they need to defend themselves.

    Give them the benefit of the doubt until they actually consider using this.
    • Patenting something just means it's an idea someone came up with.

      Unfortunately, that is now true. It didn't used to be that way, of course ... you were not patenting an idea, a concept, something completely nebulous and fundamentally useless, you were patenting an implementation of that idea, something concrete, something of value in the real world.

      But our rather well-paid and not particularly intelligent or honest Congress finished that.

  • Say what you want about tracking cookies and retargeting techniques but this story has nothing to do with spam. They seem to have patented a way to server advertising to users across many social networks which could then expose those adds to friends and friends of friends of the user who first sees the ad. This isn't much different than all of your friends seeing that you have "liked" a page on facebook. Marketers bank on the hope that some of the people who see what you have just "liked" will follow the
  • by Dystopian Rebel (714995) * on Friday December 31, 2010 @02:55PM (#34723998) Journal

    Slashdotters, now is your chance to direct my investment portfolio.

    I misjudged the iPod ("It's crap!" I said).

    I misjudged Netbooks ("They are too small, Windows Home is crap and the Atom is rubbish!" I said).

    I misjudged the iPad ("C'mon, it's not really Magical!" I said.

    I missed my chance to buy Goldman Sachs stock ("C'mon, people are not *that* stupid!" I said.)

    Well, it's the end of a decade and the numbers are in: I am an idiot. Years of my trying have proven that I am a failure at investing. Perhaps randomly selected, total strangers who have no reason to like me will do as well or better with my money.

    So tell me, ye wiser creatures, how can I make big gains from the growing stupidity of Social Networking?

    • by Nyder (754090) on Friday December 31, 2010 @04:44PM (#34724696) Journal

      So tell me, ye wiser creatures, how can I make big gains from the growing stupidity of Social Networking?

      Ponzi scams?

    • by spasm (79260)

      Keep making predictions, then bet against them.

    • So tell me, ye wiser creatures, how can I make big gains from the growing stupidity of Social Networking?

      Since you asked so nicely I'm going to tell you. Your problem is that you've been using rationale and logic - those things won't get you rich fast, that's just hard work - to make a killing you need to make unreasonable amounts of money from people's gullibility and greed. Don't make the mistake of looking for what the market needs - remember we want to make a killing, not get a job.

      The more unlikely, improbable, and down-right impossible the properties of the product you're pitching - the greater the pote

  • if it only propagates when an ad is clicked. eg: If you click an ad then it also displays that ad (or similar) on your friends pages as well. It is just targeted advertising. I would rather see ads that may interest me and my friends then random ads for "smiley central" or "the facebook of sex".
  • i thought that would be bigger news.

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