Google has purchased over two hundred IBM patents including one patent for a semantic social network. Peter Pachal reports, “While the patents cover a variety of topics, one in particular could give the search giant a new tool for its social network, Google+. The patents cover many different technologies, but they mainly deal with data services like email management, online calendars and transferring web apps between devices. The patent grab, first reported by SEO by the Sea, potentially serves two purposes: providing avenues to develop new products, and providing ammunition in litigation.”

He notes, “On the product development side, it’s anyone’s guess which of the IBM patents may become future products, but social-media watchers might be interested in U.S. Patent 7,865,592: ‘Using semantic networks to develop a social network.’ The patent details how a social network could be leveraged to lead users to find ‘experts’ or like-minded enthusiasts on specific topics. As the patent’s summary describes, ‘A method, apparatus and program product are provided for identifying common interests between users of a communication network. … [Interests] may be determined, for example, by calculating a ratio of the number of words in a content source to the time spent viewing the content.’”

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