Documenting slang in social networks wins US patent for GOOGLE

Google has been awarded US patent 9,280,534 titled “Generating social glossary”.  Broadly speaking, the invention is about scanning social media for new expressions and storing them in a glossary.

I call these expressions slang, but the patent calls them “neologisms”.


This patent is interesting because during prosecution the examiner did not alledge that the invention was non patent-eligible subject matter.  This is surprising. Given the subject matter I would have thought the examiner would have at least raised the objection to see how the applicant responded.

The lack of such an objection shows that it is difficult to predict in advance when a computing invention that could be said contain an “abstract idea” will be considered patent eligible subject matter.

The invention, in more detail, is a social networking system that mines information to learn neologism and generate a social glossary.  As new textual terms are adopted by social-networking users and become commonplace, they may be incorporated into a glossary for a user based on whether the usage context of the neologism correspond to the user’s profile, e.g. local, language gender etc.  New textual terms may also be adopted based on user polls (at large or within groups of social contacts).  Each new textual term may be required to exceed a certain usage threshold before it qualifies as a neologism and not  a mistake.  The usage threshold may be determined based on usage.

Here is claim 1 for the aficionados:

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