Method to help user discern between read and displayed state for a message in an Instant Messaging system.
Publication Date: 2019-Jan-11
The IP.com Prior Art Database
Modern Instant Messaging systems (IM from now) apps notify a user when the recipient
receives and visualizes a new message.
There is actually a misconception about the latter notification, because these apps
consider the message as "visualized by the user" even when it's only been
"displayed". There's no check whatsoever that the user has really read the
message. So, the use of a third state could mitigate the user misunderstanding a
"message displayed by the smartphone" for a "message read by the recipient".
The idea aims at detecting, with a certain amount of probability, the actual reading of
instant messages in IM systems in non-trivial scenarios, that is excluding the case
where the user provides direct input, such as scrolling down the chat content or
starting to type a response.
The most precise and straightforward way to assess the actual reading of
messages would be to use a front-facing camera for face detection, but this would
also be very expensive, both in terms of battery drain and user’s privacy concerns.
Therefore, proposed algorithm resorts to it as little as possible, making extensive
and clever use of the other sensors widely available in most modern mobile phones,
such as the accelerometer, gyroscope, grip and temperature sensor. Even the use
of these is streamlined in order to resort to all of them at the bare minimum.
One specific scenario is particularly trickier than others and will be used in order to
illustrate how the proposed algorithm works.
Imagine the user is texting with a friend, so the screen is lit on and all previous
messages have been read; then the user leaves the phone on the desk and
receives a new message. Since the app is running and the display is on and
showing the contact’s chat screen (which is a check that all IM apps execute), the
user will receive no notification, but the message will be automatically considered
“read” by any regular application (and the sender) not applying the proposed
Of course, this could lead to misunderstandings among the users and missing important
information, especially if an urgent and prompt action is required for the recipient. In
fact, what is considered “read” has only been "displayed", but the app never actually
bothered checking if the user laid eyes on it.
The following Fig.1 shows how the diagram of the algorithm presented in this disclosure
can fit into what we deem to be the usual routine to assess message status.
The following Fig.2, instead, goes through all the steps of presented algorithm:
basically, once the algorithm detects an incoming message (that is already flagged
as "delivered") and the c...