Social networking giant Facebook has applied for patent exclusivity for its invention of a method making messaging more interactive by identifying the message elements in the electronic communication and adding or replacing them with an additional element. The invention could be used in instant messaging services and other electronic communication methods.
In a patent application 'Providing Augmented Message Elements In Electronic Communication Threads', the company claims that the invention is related to electronic communications, more specifically to intelligently augmenting message elements in such communications.
Electronic communication applications allow users to include emoticons, stickers, images as shortcuts, but the present limitation is that those non-verbal communications do not allow for interaction and interplay of non-verbal communication common in face-to-fcae conversations. Even animated emoticons are generally limited to add any layer of expression on interaction.
The invention includes a system and method to identify the corresponding electronic message elements sent by a first user and a second user in a communication thread within a threshold time and adding another layer of expression to communications by replacing the two messages with a corresponding third message, says the company filing with the Patent Office.
For instance, if the first user sends a thumbs-up sticker and the second user also sends the same sticker, the system might replace the two stickers with a fist bump animation. The company claims that the electronic communication system could that way allow users to add another layer of expression and communication to the exchange of electronic communications. In some instances, the fist bump animation might be replaced by the first and second thumbs-up stickers after a threshold time, such that the communication thread appears unchanged.
The system will identify a third message element corresponding to the first and second message elements accessing metadata and a table lookup and picking up the apt message element. It would replace the first and second message elements and provide a new cell in the communication thread containing the third message element, according to the patent specifications filed by the company.
The company has its instant messaging services under Facebook Messenger and also owns the widely used instant message app WhatsApp, among others. In the social networking system, it has electronic communication from users as posts to a newsfeed or a "wall".
The company has been working on various value additions and new offerings related to these systems.