Berlin, Germany: Facebook has received approval for a patent for its location-base social networks, titled “method of sharing locations of users participating in a social networking service at a geographic location”.
The patent is “an exemplary system according to one embodiment, comprises a device with a GPS module configured to receive a GPS identifier, a status entry screen on the device configured to receive a status, a processing module on the device configured to associate the GPS identifier and the status, a contact file on the device configured to store a copy of the associated GPS identifier and status, and a communication module on the device configured to send the associated GPS identifier and status to a server comprising a web-based social network database”.
It enables users participating in a social network to share locations between one another from a mobile device or on a social networking site. Information concerning a user location will be connected to Facebook Places, a location service started by Facebook two months ago, the company announced on receiving the patent.
The patent also states: “given the status information manually provided by the first user on an input module of the mobile device; associating the location information with the status information of the first user in a database; and sending the status information and the location information of the first user to a second user for display.” Further known as “checkins”, the patent also covers users sharing their information with a secondary user.
The US Patent Office has implemented some restrictions: “A computer server for providing a social networking service, comprising: a database module configured to store location information in association with status information of a first user in a database responsive to receiving the location information and the status information from a mobile device of the first user, the location information representing a geographic location of the first user, the status information manually provided by the first user on an input module of the mobile device; and a communication module configured to: receive the location information and the status information associated with the first user from the mobile device; and send the location information and the status information of the first user to a second user for display”.
The data must be held in a database and the system has to send the information to a second party, such as other users.