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System and Method for Employing Social Networks to Narrow Search Results based on Proximity and Connectivity Disclosure Number: IPCOM000218082D
Publication Date: 2012-May-18
Document File: 5 page(s) / 71K

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Disclosed is a method for linking social networks with published data, to present search results accounting for professional criteria and connectivity information. Professional criteria is the information that may be found in an advertisement or published list of services (e.g., Yellow Pages from the telephone service provider). Connectivity information includes that provided by commercially available social networking services.

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System and Method for Employing Social Networks to Narrow Search Results based on Proximity and Connectivity

Users receive information about businesses offering certain services in their region. They may also search social networks for a given business, (e.g., if a user searches his/her social network for "Acme Law Firm", the user might see a common friend with a given firm).

Individuals searching online for professional help may receive, through current technologies, information such as

• List of professionals in the area

• Reviews or ratings by third party, anonymous, or unfamiliar individuals

However, no existing system allows searches generating the list of criteria enumerated above. Furthermore, today's "push" solutions are not comprehensive since they do not provide complete lists using social network data.

The novel feature of this invention is that it combines the available sets of information in a novel fashion, such that businesses offering a service are shown with geographic information, common linkages and degree of connectivity, and friends' recommendations. Optionally, other standardized information may be provided, such as pricing for fungible services.

When a search is performed, the system performs the following steps: (Steps 4-8 may occur in any order. Furthermore, in some embodiments, not all of the steps may be performed, but only partial delivery of these functions may be provided.)

1. Searcher requests a service (e.g., for "IP Attorney") optionally with the stipulation that the result be within a certain distance from user's home or office.

2. Raw, nonsocialized search results are pulled through legacy methods, typically involving business listings and their correlation to a GIS database to ascertain location. These interim results may or may not be shown to the user. 3. Canonical identities for the businesses are established. These canonical identities may be established on a business name, an address, a telephone number, or a principal name associated with that business. Optionally, individual practitioners within that business may be ascertained through established look-up tables. For example, the company named "Lauderdale and Associates" may comprise numerous individuals.

4. The searcher's immediate social network is searched for either the canonical identities of the businesses or practitioners from those businesses, with the results tabulated.

A. The searcher's friends (S+1) are then searched, to see if their friends match any of the raw search results, with the outcomes tabulated.

B. The searcher's friends' friends (S+2) may be searched to see if their friends' friends match any of the raw search results, with the outcomes tabulated.

Although computational requirements rise rapidly, this breadth-first or


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depth-first search may be accomplished up to an S+N level, depending on the preferences of the searcher or the service provider.

5. The searcher's immediate social network is search...