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Reversible inactivation of Instant Messaging contacts based on activity

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000199942D
Publication Date: 2010-Sep-21
Document File: 2 page(s) / 44K

Publishing Venue

The IP.com Prior Art Database

Abstract

A number of instant messaging client users use the contact list of those client as a way to keep track of people. While this is legitimate, it increases the size of the contact list and may drain the instant messaging server resources unnecessarily as the user will not engage in instant messaging with those contacts very often. This article describes an enhancement to instant messaging client and server to overcome this problem.

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Reversible inactivation of Instant Messaging contacts based on activity

A lot of Instant Messaging client users use their contact list to keep track of people: they add them to the contact list when they think that those people may help them in the future, and for the sole purpose of remembering their names. They do not engage often in instant messaging chats with those contacts.

The result of this is that the user contact list grows.

    This incurs a performance penalty for the client & server application (they have to maintain the status information of a lot of contacts which are not actually used very often).

Worse yet, to avoid the penalty cost associated with big contact lists, the administrator has the possibility to limit the size of the contact list (to, say, 500 contacts), preventing the user from using his contact list in the way described above, which is frustrating: he has to resort to using a different, separate tool to save (i.e. remember) his contacts and interact with them.

    It is possible in a number of IM clients to save your contact list but quite often this operation is for backing up purposes: the whole list is saved and restored, the saved format is not easily searchable (or even browsable),worse yet, it forces the user to use another tool than the one he uses to interact with the contacts.

    Some clients also offer the possibility of synchronising the contact list with an address book type of tool, but this requires the user to use a separate tool to maintain his contact list and interact with the contacts. Those type of tools also do not offer the possibility of storing the contacts in a tree structure like an IM client contact list, which is most conducive to remembering who the person is and why it is in the contact list (i.e. you will have a person that helped you with a legal issue in a "Legal" contact list group)

    The proposed improvement is to inactivate some contacts in the contact list (either manually, or more interestingly, automatically) so that they don't participate in the instant messaging functionality (i.e. no presence indication, not possible to start chat, etc ...), but still remain in the contact list.

They're basically static contacts which don't provide any other feature than "being there" in their respective contact list group.

    This allow the user to "remember" people by adding them to his contact list in a relevant group, while at the same time overcoming the performance issues associated with having more contacts in the list - the inactive contacts do not consume any resources, and the contact list size limitation issue - the limit is only concerned with the number of active contacts, while at the same time allowing the user to keep track of people in the context of his buddy list (i.e. organised in relevant groups).

An active contact may be made inactive manually through a user action. More interestingly, it could be done automatically in the following ways:
- Based on inactivity: if you ha...