Facebook has been awarded
a patent for its Newsfeed--an innovation that continually displays updates and
information about users' friends. The patent may allow Facebook to
challenge other social networking sites in court who use similar technologies, causing tech pundits to worry that
competition and consumer choice may suffer. Still, others argue that the
patent is limited and won't have any major effect.
- A Perversion of the Patent System, writes Mike Masnick
at Techdirt: "Now we have a case where one company may have the right
to prevent others from doing what it makes perfect sense for them to
do. That's not what the patent system was designed to do at all. A
patent like this should never have been approved at all, as it serves
no useful purpose in 'promoting the progress' and seems to go against
everything that the patent system is supposed to do."
- This Is a Very Big Deal, writes Marshall Kirkpatrick
at ReadWriteWeb: "LinkedIn contacts making new connections or
changing their jobs would be the most immediate example that comes to
mind. If offering a stream of updates of the non-status messages of
friends is something Facebook alone could deliver, that would be a
major loss for the rest of the social web."
- 'Stop Freaking Out,' writes Henry Blodget
at Business Insider: "Here's what it means: At worst, these companies
will have to pay Facebook some money ... Google, you may recall, was
eventually found to be violating Overture's patent on bidding for
keyword search terms. Unlike Facebook's newsfeed, this was Google's
primary business and revenue stream. And the situation was eventually
resolved not with a dissolution of Google but with a meaningful (but
not debilitating) payment to Yahoo, which had acquired Overture."
- This Patent Is Limited, writes Nick O'Neill
at All Facebook: "It appears that this patent surrounds implicit
actions. This means status updates, which is what Twitter is based on,
are not part of this patent. Instead, this is about stories about the
actions of a user’s friends. While still significant, the implications
for competing social networks may be less substantial."
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