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Method for Supporting Queries on Instant Messaging Sessions Disclosure Number: IPCOM000022400D
Original Publication Date: 2004-Mar-12
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2004-Mar-12
Document File: 2 page(s) / 82K

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This article provides a mechanism to enable a user to query his/her past IM sessions. Most IM systems allow the user to save chat sessions locally. This article describes a way to aggregate IM data saved at multiple client devices to support the above queries. To enable this, the IM server keeps track of client devices (e.g. PCs, laptops, cell phones, PDAs, etc) its users have used in past. This information could be a tuple that includes userid, machine-type, machine-address, IM-session-start-time, and IM-session-end-time. Using this mechanism, a user can query his/her past IM sessions to access important information from one device when the information was actually sent to another device. For example, a user can access username/password that was sent to a work machine, from a lab machine. As another example, a user can use this mechanism to create an answering machine service for IMs. A user can delegate one device as his/her main device and always login to the IM server from this device. Irrespective of whether the user is actually at this device, all IMs will be delivered to this device. The user can then login from other devices to check for any delivered IMs that have not been seen earlier.

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Method for Supporting Queries on Instant Messaging Sessions

IM systems now allow users to have multiple simultaneous login sessions. For example, a user could be logged in from a work machine and a lab machine at the same time. This raises interesting problems as illustrated by the example below.

Consider John Doe who goes on a lunch break while being logged on at his work machine. The IM server will continue to deliver all IMs to John Doe's work machine. During the lunch break, John Doe wants to have IM access by logging on using a cell phone/PDA. Current IM systems can deliver IMs to multiple devices. However, current IM systems do not provide any support if John Doe wants to check IMs that have already been delivered at his work machine.

The above problem occurs because of the inability of existing IM software to support queries on a user's recent history of IM chat sessions. This problem is not unique to cases where a user has multiple simultaneous login sessions. As described below, this problem occur even in other situations:
* A user wants to quickly access past IM sessions delivered to one machine from a remote machine. For example, accessing userid/password delivered to a work machine from the lab.

* A user logs in from another device to check IMs delivered to him/her on another machine.

* A user wants to review past ICT polls/broadcasts.
* An IM client window is closed by mistake.

The problem is illustrated in the figure below.

John Doe

This article provides a mechanism to support queries on the IMs saved on a client machine. Most

At lunch break

Did I miss any IMs?

In the lab

IM Server...