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Automatically updating temporal information in messages from independent apps

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000242057D
Publication Date: 2015-Jun-16
Document File: 3 page(s) / 104K

Publishing Venue

The IP.com Prior Art Database

Abstract

A system and method for automatically updating temporal information in messages from independent applications is disclosed.

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Automatically updating temporal information in messages from independent apps

Disclosed is a system and method for automatically updating temporal information in messages from independent applications (apps).

Some information systems have many independent software applications that produce messages to show to a user and one central component for managing and presenting those messages. In some cases, the messages from independent apps may include information about time that is phrased in a way that is relative to an assumed current time. For example, English language phrases such as "today", "tomorrow", "next week", "in two hours", and "immediately" all describe some time relative to the time they were asserted.

Such statements may be correct and meaningful at the time that they are sent from the independent application (app) to component that manages the messages. However, they may be outdated by the time the user actually sees the message. Since the communication of the message is handled by the message managing system, there is no way for the sending app to recognize that is message is out of date. Since the content of the message is produced by the sending app, it is not trivial for the messaging app to recognize that the content is out of date and to adjust it.

For example, imagine a sports team has an app that sends a message to the message managing system saying "The big game starts tomorrow at 4pm." The message managing system notes that the screen on the users device is turned off so it waits for the user to turn it on. When the user does so, it shows the message. However, if the screen is not turned on until the next day, this message is no longer accurate. It really should say "The big game starts today at 4pm."

One solution for this would be for the independent apps to send messages containing a stub and a time stamp, e.g., "The big game starts " & "2014-08-25/16:00." The messaging managing system could then translate the time stamp into some human readable form. Another solution would be for the messaging system to continuously

poll the independent app for updates to the message whenever a user might be looking at the message (e.g., when the screen on some device is turned on). However, both of those solutions impose additional requirements and complexity on the developers of the independent apps. Since there may be many such apps, including many that already exist, imposing new requirements is not desirable.

Instead, the disclosed method employs natural language analysis to recognize and understand relative temporal expressions and update them as needed. For example, it

would take the message "The big game starts tomorrow at 4pm." plus the automatic time stamp on that message and figure out what specific time "tomorrow at 4pm" is referring to. When displaying the message, it would then replace "tomorrow at 4pm"

with some meaningful expression of that time relative to the current time (e.g., would

replace it with "tod...