Patent application serial number 616380 is assigned to
The following quote was obtained by the news editors from the background information supplied by the inventors: "Online service providers are constantly offering new services and upgrading existing services to enhance their subscribers online experience. Subscribers have virtually on-demand access to news, weather, financial, sports, and entertainment services as well as the ability to transmit electronic messages and to participate in online discussion groups. For example, subscribers of online service providers such as America Online or CompuServe may view and retrieve information on a wide variety of topics from servers located throughout the world. A server may be maintained by the service provider or by a third party provider who makes information and services available through the network of computers that make up the online service.
"The proliferation of electronic mail (email) as a means of communication has facilitated the efforts of online service providers to develop and offer additional services to improve subscribers access to information. For example, a subscriber to America Online may register for a service that tracks stock ticker symbols designated by the subscriber and delivers a daily report directly to the subscriber by email at the end of each trading day. The daily report includes daily closing quote data, index quotes, a market news summary, news associated with the company identified by the ticker symbol, and relevant content links.
"America Online offers a service that delivers information to a registered subscriber according to the subscribers profile. By setting up a subscriber profile specifying certain categories and/or search words, a registered subscriber can receive a daily newsletter containing articles that pertain to the subscribers profile. A subscriber can also receive a daily listing of Internet or online sites (links) related to the subscribers profiles and can register to receive reminder emails before holidays and/or other special occasions.
"America Online also has provided subscribers with the ability to send and receive instant messages. Instant messages are private online conversations between two or more people who have subscribed to the instant messaging service and have installed the necessary software. Because such online conversations take place virtually in real time, instant messaging can provide immediate access to desired information. Instant messaging is fast becoming a preferred means of communicating among online subscribers."
In addition to the background information obtained for this patent application, VerticalNews journalists also obtained the inventors' summary information for this patent application: "In one general aspect, a communications system includes one or more alert gates and an alert controller. Each alert gate is configured to detect a different type of alert feed corresponding to a particular type of alert. The alert controller is connected to the alert gates and operable to receive detected alerts from the alert gates and to deliver the detected alerts to a user of the communications system.
"The alert controller may be configured to maintain a record of alert types registered for by the user of the communications system. The user may be a subscriber of an instant messaging system. The alert controller may deliver one or more detected alerts to the subscriber through the instant messaging system.
"The user also may be a subscriber of an online service provider, and the alert controller may deliver one or more detected alerts to the subscriber through the online service provider. The alert controller may be connected to an instant messaging controller through a routing gateway.
"The instant messaging controller and the alert controller may be assigned to the user of the communications system according to a hashing technique. Implementations may include multiple alert controllers.
"At least one of the alert gates may detect an alert feed from a remote server by sending a status inquiry to the remote server. The remote server may be a mail server, a stock server, a third party server, a weather server and a news server, and/or a calendar server.
"Implementations also may include an alert controller network having multiple alert controllers including the alert controller. The alert controller may be configured to communicate with all alert controllers in the alert controller network.
"At least one type of alert feed may contain information related to a group, and the alert controller may be dedicated to receiving information related to certain members of the group. The group may be a group of users, a group of stocks, a group of third parties, and/or a group of cities.
"In another general aspect, a user of a communications system is alerted by detecting, at an alert gate, an alert feed corresponding to an alert indicative of a change in state at a remote server; receiving, at an alert controller, detected alerts from the alert gate; and delivering a detected alert to a user of the communications system when the user has indicated a desire to receive the alert.
DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
"FIG. 1 is a block diagram of a communications system.
"FIGS. 2-6 are expansions of aspects of the block diagram of FIG. 1.
"FIG. 7 is a flow chart of a communications method.
"FIGS. 8-14 are illustrations of different graphical user interfaces."
URL and more information on this patent application, see:
Keywords for this news article include: Electronics, Facebook Inc.
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