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Sorting IM Users and Groups by Usage Disclosure Number: IPCOM000028931D
Original Publication Date: 2004-Jun-08
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2004-Jun-08
Document File: 2 page(s) / 38K

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Instant Messaging (IM) applications allow users to create a list of people that are frequent contacts. This list is sorted alphabetically, or based on the order in which a person / group is added to the user's list. However, there are no options that will sort this list based on how often a user communicates with a person or group of people. This article describes how to implement an option in IM applications that bidirectionally sorts a list of people and groups by frequency of communication.

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Sorting IM Users and Groups by Usage

     The idea is to add an option that permits a user to sort their list of co-workers, friends, or family by the amount they "chat" with any particular person. This idea could be extended to allow for sorting of entire groups within a user's list (based on frequency). This paradigm could also be applied to address books for email clients and cell phones.

     The advantage to implementing this option within an IM application is accessibility. With this option in place, people or groups that are frequent contacts will move towards the top of the list and become more accessible to the user. With time, people that are seldom or never contacted by the user will move towards the bottom of the list. For example, if a user frequently communicates with co-workers in their department, this group of department members would bubble up towards the top of their IM list.

For each user and group on a user's buddy list, the user's client would store + the number of IM sessions initiated by the user for that buddy, + the number of IM sessions initiated by a buddy for the user, + a measure of the time spent chatting with that buddy, + and/or potentially other counters for tiebreaks (like # of times a user hits enter).

     This method is bidirectional in that it uses outgoing and incoming data (initiated by the user and initiated by buddy list members). This sorting routine could be based on usage over a previous time period selected by the application.