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Ability to hide arbitrary sections of text in an instant messaging session Disclosure Number: IPCOM000202294D
Publication Date: 2010-Dec-13
Document File: 3 page(s) / 128K

Publishing Venue

The Prior Art Database


Disclosed is a system to enable users to hide arbitrary sections of text in an instant messaging session. The hiding of the text is temporary and may be unhidden later when required. An example of when this may be used is when a user has concerns about the privacy of the content within their instant messaging session.

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Ability to hide arbitrary sections of text in an instant messaging session

When an instant messaging (IM) chat session is in progress there is currently no way to hide particular sections of the chat history within that session while leaving other sections of the text displayed.

The only current method to achieve something similar to this is to:

- turn off chat history from previous sessions. This means all previous chat history is lost and is generally not useful in a work environment where chat history can provide a record of technical/organisational discussions.

- close and reopen the chat window so the new chat window contains no history of the current chat with a particular person. This is not ideal as you lose the entire earlier chat history from the previous session when you may only wish to hide small portions of it. The steps of closing and reopening chat windows repeatedly is also tedious for the user.

    This disclosure proposes a method allowing the IM client user to hide arbitrary sections of chat from their current session and also to later unhide those chat sections.

    The core idea of this disclosure is to enable users to temporarily hide sections of text in the chat history displayed in their current window(s). The users will also be able to unhide that text later as required.

    Multiple sections of text can be selected and hidden and they would not need to be in a contiguous block, allowing the user to hide any individual parts of their chat while leaving the intermediate messages displayed.

The benefits over the existing solutions are:

- No chat history is lost, it is only hidden from view. When the user has chosen to save chat history between sessions, the hidden pieces of text will also be saved. When the chat history is viewed again later the pieces of hidden text will remain hidden so there is no accidental displaying of sensitive information.

- Users can hide any parts of the chat they wish, be it whole conversations or single lines. There is no currently existing solution offering this.

- Users can hide multiple parts of the chat leaving other chat text in between still displayed. This allows the user to hide sensitive/confidential information (user/password information, confidential technical details, etc.) while still continuing to chat with the other person/people in the same session. The user can then show the chat to colleagues/take screen grabs etc. without the sensitive information being displayed. None of the hidden information is lost and can be unhidden by the user at any point later.

- Hidden text will not be in...