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"Passive Collaboration" with Instant Messaging

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000183968D
Original Publication Date: 2009-Jun-08
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2009-Jun-08
Document File: 2 page(s) / 21K

Publishing Venue



This invention is an attempt to combine the idea of daily blogging with instant messaging. The core idea is to allow instant messenger users to describe the key tasks or problems that they are working to solve in a "blog entry" that would be made available to various subscribers. This content would not be displayed on their screen as an intrusive pop-up window, as is typical with instant messaging clients. Using the approach as described below, this invention would enable a form of non-intrusive "Passive Collaboration" allowing users to respond (or not respond) to the messages at a time that is convenient for them.

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"Passive Collaboration" with Instant Messaging

The key problem addressed by this invention is the need of many practitioners in the technical community to freely exchange ideas in a non-intrusive manner. Often times someone working in a particular subject area has questions regarding common problems that many others run into, but may be afraid to send a instant message asking the question for fear of interrupting another team member's work. This problem has been partially addressed by other instant messaging tools which allow users to post questions to a user community, and the question would be displayed on the screen of each member of the community for 3 to 4 seconds. Then those receiving the message would be allowed to either interact with the flashing window, or to completely ignore it. Over time as the number of messages increased, this became an annoyance to many users and they would remove themselves from the community to avoid the multitude of pop-ups. This approach delivered a form of "proactive" collaboration that ultimately forced many users to loose collaboration opportunities.

The invention described in this article attempts to deliver a new type of collaboration whereby members of the community will have an opportunity to collaborative "Passively" with other community members without causing them to experience a drop in their own productivity. The key difference between traditional collaboration via traditional instant messaging and what I am calling "Passive Collaboration" is that in traditional instant messaging, the messages appear instantly as pop-up windows on the receiver's screen. With "Passive Collaboration", the messages are queued up in a queuing area that would be defined by the user. Ultimately, these messages would be read (or not read) at the leisure of the message receiver. Messages exchanged in this way would carry an implicitly low priority in comparison to all other instant messages being sent by the users. Traditional instant messages carrying a higher priority would continue to be exchanged by the users as they are today.

Another difference is that "Passive Collaboration" would use a publish/subscribe model, instead of the point-to-point model used by traditional instant messaging tools. The source message would always be made available to a group of subscribers instead of an individual user. Also with the use of the queueing technology, the messages would be persisted so that off-line communication could take place. If a user is not on-line when the message is published to the "Passive Collaboration" tool, the message can be retrieved when the user logs on as long as long as the message has not expired. When the user sends a message, he/she will have the ability to set an expiration time on the message. He/she will also have the ability to cancel sent messages as appropriate.

The instant messaging tool would allow users to subscribe to messages based on th...