Apple has won a new US patent on a social networking concept, says AppleInsider
. Titled Apparatus and method for efficiently managing data in a social networking service
, it mainly deals
with a way of handling "friend" connections in a network. This includes the use of three databases: one for friends, one for out-of-network users, and a write-ahead log for detecting and solving any issues.
Friends are associated with a destination signaling identifier (DSID) or their handle. For two people to achieve the friend state, though, one of them has to send a friend request, and the other has to accept. Separating Apple's idea from some other social networks are "spammer" and "stalker" meters. Each time a person sends a friend request, their spam count rises by one, until a limit is reached and no more requests can be sent out. The stalker meter goes up by one each time a friend request is denied, and after a certain point, additional attempts to friend someone will be blocked. The subject of the friend requests can preempt this by choosing to ignore them.
The write-ahead log generator tracks and manages various interactions on a network, including ones not already mentioned, such as merging two handles. A key can be generated for each transaction, and later used to resolve any potential database conflicts.
Apple's idea could be implemented using an API, and integrated into both mobile and desktop platforms. A patent application was first submitted in 2010; it was likely connected to that year's debut of Ping, an iTunes-based social network. The network ultimately flopped, something typically blamed on its restricted platform reach and a lack of Facebook hooks.