Facebook Wins Patent For Social Search Results, Could Use It To Threaten Google

Facebook CEO and cofounder Mark ZuckerbergGot questions for Mark? We’ll answer them!

Photo: Crunchies2009

The U.S. Patent Office awarded Facebook a patent for “a click-behaviour based search engine application” earlier today, GoRumors reports.The patent, first filed back in 2004, determines search result ranking by looking at “the frequency of clicks on the search results by members of social network who are within a predetermined degree of separation from the member who submitted the query.”

We aren’t aware of Facebook actually using that sort of technology, and, of course, it has since outsourced search to Microsoft. But Google has been experimenting with “social search” for a while now. The experiment isn’t worth much right now, since Google doesn’t have good data on its users’ social connections, but if Google is able to change that with Me, Facebook might try to use this patent as a weapon.

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