News Column

Researchers Submit Patent Application, "Notification Feed across Multiple Client Devices", for Approval

August 5, 2014



By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Information Technology Newsweekly -- From Washington, D.C., VerticalNews journalists report that a patent application by the inventors Wheeler, Daniel Lowe (San Francisco, CA); Baccichet, Pierpaolo (San Francisco, CA); Larabie-Belanger, Maxime (San Francisco, CA); Pearl, Ryan J. (San Fracisco, CA); Wen, Tina (San Francisco, CA); Jain, Tushar (San Francisco, CA); Sydell, Alexander J. (San Francisco, CA); Consalus, Kyle Patrick (San Francisco, CA), filed on January 14, 2013, was made available online on July 24, 2014.

The patent's assignee is Dropbox Inc.

News editors obtained the following quote from the background information supplied by the inventors: "The present disclosure relates generally to online content management services and in particular to providing notifications from such services to multiple client devices.

"Online content management services allow users to access and manage content across multiple devices using the Internet. In a typical online content management service, a user establishes an account with the service provider and to associate various content items with the account. For example, some online content management services may allow the user to store content items (including but not limited to text documents; email messages; text messages; other types of messages; media files such as photos, videos, and audio files; and/or folders containing multiple files) and to selectively allow other users to access the content items. Content items can be stored in a master repository maintained by the service provider and mirrored to or synchronized with local copies on various user devices. Users may also be able to receive updates based on activity of other users; for instance, in a social network, status updates or other content items posted by one user can be propagated to other users who have indicated interest in receiving them.

"With the proliferation of mobile computing devices, a user can now access the same online content management service from a variety of clients, such as web browsers, desktop application programs, and mobile-device apps. Keeping all of a user's clients synchronized can present challenges for the online content management service provider."

As a supplement to the background information on this patent application, VerticalNews correspondents also obtained the inventors' summary information for this patent application: "Certain embodiments of the present invention relate to providing event notifications to a user across multiple client devices or platforms. In some embodiments, a notification feed can include a stream or sequence of messages reporting the occurrence of various events, such as when the user is invited to join a shared content repository or group, when the user accepts (or declines) such an invitation, or when activities involving the user's account are detected (e.g., changes to security settings such as a password, billing errors, exceeding a quota, or the like). If a user takes action on one device, notifications on all devices can be updated to reflect the action.

"The notification feed can be a flexible feed, with notification information that is presented to the user (also referred to herein as 'alerts') being updated approximately in real time to reflect current status, e.g., by replacing obsolete information with current information as new events occur. In some embodiments, a flexible feed can be implemented by structuring each notification to include a topic identifier, as well as sequencing information and content. Given a list of notifications, the server and/or a client can use the topic identifier to identify multiple notifications that pertain to the same topic. Where multiple notifications include the same topic, a client can use the temporal sequencing information to determine which notifications should be presented as alerts to the user; for example, older notifications can be hidden from the user. In some embodiments, the server can use the temporal information to determine that certain notifications need not be sent to a particular client, e.g., in cases where a notification that has not yet been sent has already been superseded by a subsequent event.

"Certain aspects of the invention relate to servers and methods executable at servers. For example, a server can receive event information pertaining to an event associated with a target user and create a first notification record in a notifications data store based on the event information. The first notification record can include a topic field, a sequence field, and a content field. The server can also generate a first message indicating that the first notification record is available. The first message can include an identifier of the target user and an identifier of the first notification record. The server can promulgate the first message to clients associated with the target user, and the message can be promulgated to each of the clients independently of promulgation to any other of the clients.

"As another example, a server can receive a request for new notification records from a client. The server can retrieve, from a notifications data store, an initial set of notification records responsive to the request and can generate a final set of notification records from the initial set of notification records. For example, in generating the final set, the server can determine, based on a topic field of a first notification record in the initial set, whether the first notification record should be consolidated with another notification record in the set; if so, the server can consolidate the records. This consolidation can be accomplished without affecting any records in the notifications data store. The final set of notification records can be sent to the requesting client.

"Certain aspects of the invention relate to clients and methods executable at clients. For example, a client can request notification records from a server and can receive, from the server, one or more notification records responsive to the request. The client can identify an initial set of notification records to process, with the initial set including the notification records received from the server; in some instances, the initial set may also include notification records that were present at the client prior to making the request to the server. The client can generate a final set of notification records from the initial set of notification records. For example, the client can determine, based on a topic field of a first notification record in the initial set, whether the first notification record should be consolidated with another notification record in the initial set; if so, the client can consolidate the records. Based on the final set of notification records, the client can present one or more alerts to a user.

"The following detailed description together with the accompanying drawings will provide a better understanding of the nature and advantages of the present invention.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

"FIG. 1 shows clients accessing an online content management service according to an embodiment of the present invention.

"FIG. 2 shows a system for pushing notifications to clients according to an embodiment of the present invention.

"FIG. 3 shows a simplified block diagram illustrating a representative computer system.

"FIG. 4 shows an event taxonomy according to an embodiment of the present invention.

"FIG. 5 shows examples of notification records according to an embodiment of the present invention.

"FIG. 6 shows a generalizable data structure that can be used for messages according to an embodiment of the present invention.

"FIG. 7 shows a flow diagram of a process for pushing event notifications to clients associated with a user according to an embodiment of the present invention.

"FIG. 8 shows a flow diagram of a process for providing notifications to a user according to an embodiment of the present invention.

"FIG. 9 shows a flow diagram of a process for providing notification records to a client according to an embodiment of the present invention"

For additional information on this patent application, see: Wheeler, Daniel Lowe; Baccichet, Pierpaolo; Larabie-Belanger, Maxime; Pearl, Ryan J.; Wen, Tina; Jain, Tushar; Sydell, Alexander J.; Consalus, Kyle Patrick. Notification Feed across Multiple Client Devices. Filed January 14, 2013 and posted July 24, 2014. Patent URL: http://appft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO2&Sect2=HITOFF&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsearch-adv.html&r=589&p=12&f=G&l=50&d=PG01&S1=20140717.PD.&OS=PD/20140717&RS=PD/20140717

Keywords for this news article include: Dropbox Inc., Information Technology, Information and Data Aggregation.

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Source: Information Technology Newsweekly


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