Patents are nothing new in the tech industry; giants like Intel and Apple have played this card for years to deliver the goods that we’re now so familiar with.
But what happens when your activity online suddenly becomes a patent fight?
Facebook this week was granted a patent on — guess what — its Newsfeed.
According to the patent filing, the Newsfeed is:
A method for displaying a news feed in a social network environment is described. The method includes generating news items regarding activities associated with a user of a social network environment and attaching an informational link associated with at least one of the activities, to at least one of the news items, as well as limiting access to the news items to a predetermined set of viewers and assigning an order to the news items.
Can you imagine a social web experience in 2010 without a news feed?
This is a massive game changer as it take the fight straight into what everyone else is trying to do right now: help users discover relevant and interesting stories flagged through their primary filter — their friends.
As I wrote previously, status updates will be the most valuable consumer content in the next two years as a gold mine of insights into user behavior and preference. Facebook’s move to create a moat around this is troubling.
So is this the end of the line for other companies? Probably not. In fact, this could be a good thing. Since many of us hate the way Newsfeeds are presented, this is a fabulous opportunity for innovators to present social news in new ways.
How would you like to see your social news feed?
(Illustration: Geek and Poke/Creative Commons)