Google Acquires Meebo and Meebo Patent Filings

An announcement today on the Meebo blog tells us that Google has acquired Meebo. Meebo was founded in 2005 by Sandy Jen, Seth Sternberg and Elaine Wherry, and is headquartered in Mountain View, California. As noted on the PC Mag article, Google Buys Social Sharing Company Meebo:

A Google spokesman said in a statement that the company is always looking for better ways to help users share content and connect across the web, as in daily life. “With the Meebo team’s expertise in social publisher tools, we believe they will be a great fit with the Google+ team,” the company said. “We look forward to closing the transaction and working with the Meebo team to create more ways for users to engage online.”

Meebo started off life as an IM chat program that featured interoperability with a host of other instant messaging programs. I remember using it years ago in place of the Yahoo chat program which used to cause my computer to crash. In December of 2008, Meebo introduced the Meebo Bar, which enabled webmasters to set up chat on their website for people to use to interact with each other. The Meebo Bar also provided social sharing tools and advertising, including games from advertisers.

At the time of the agreement to acquire Meebo announced earlier today, Meebo had 11 pending patents assigned to them at the USPTO and one granted patent. It appears that the Meebo product team will be joining Google to work on Google Plus, while many of the sales and marketing team might be looking for new jobs.

It’s hard to say how much of the Meebo technology will come over to Google, but they may give us some background on the kinds of technologies that the Meebo engineering team were working upon.

Here are the patent filings assigned to Meebo:

Method and system for event polling
Invented by Elaine Wherry and Sandy Jen
Assigned to Meebo
United States Patent 7,961,701
Granted June 14, 2011
Filed: March 26, 2007

Abstract

A method and system for event polling have been disclosed. According to one embodiment, a computer-implemented method comprises receiving a session request from a client device. A session key is provided to the client device in response to the session request. A session timer is set for a predetermined time period.

An event revision number is received from the server device. The client is provided with an updated event revision number if the event revision number matches an expected revision number. An event from an instant messaging server is placed in a queue until the event revision number matches the expected revision number, the event including one or more of instant messages, buddy events, typing, and application events.

Method and System for Embedded Personalized Communication
Invented by Elaine Wherry, Sandy Jen, Seth Sternberg, and Jian Shen
US Patent Application 20080010344
Published January 10, 2008
Filed: July 9, 2007

Abstract

A method and system for embedded personalized communication have been disclosed. According to one embodiment, a computer-implemented method comprises providing software code to be embedded in a webpage. The webpage is loaded including the software code. A configuration file is fetched from a configuration server in response to the software code. A first instant messaging user interface is rendered on the webpage. A request is sent to a web-based instant messaging server, the request initiating an instant messaging session with a second instant messaging user interface.

Techniques for Customized Delivery of Advertisements
Invented by Martin Green, Andreas Binnewies, Kevin Ferguson, and Michael Pat Becker
Assigned to Meebo
US Patent Application 20100306039
Published December 2, 2010
Filed: May 28, 2010

Abstract

Techniques for customizing the delivery of advertisements to a client. In one embodiment, the customization comprises dynamically determining a length of time for an advertisement, where the length of time represents the minimum amount of time for which the advertisement is to be output (e.g., displayed) by a client. The length of time may be dynamically determined on a per-advertisement based upon multiple criteria.

Techniques for Displaying an Advertisement Across Multiple Pages
Invented by Andreas Binnewies, Vijay Raghunathan, and Christopher T. Szeto
Assigned to Meebo
US Patent Application 20100306066
Published December 2, 2010
Filed: May 28, 2010

Abstract

Techniques for persisting an advertisement across multiple web pages served from page-view based websites. The advertisement is persisted across multiple pages served from page-view based websites without creating new advertisement impressions. This reduces the number of advertisement impressions and also extends the amount of time that a particular advertisement can be shown to a user even as the user navigates across multiple web pages.

Provisioning Instant Communications for a Community of Users
Invented by Martin Hunt, Chris Szeto, James Rodgers, Vijay Raghunathan
Assigned to Meebo
US Patent Application 20100107088
Published April 29, 2010
Filed: October 27, 2009

Abstract

Techniques that enable instant communications services to be provisioned for an online community of users such that the members of the community can interact with each other using instant communications including using instant messaging (IM). In one embodiment, an instant communications facilitator operating from a first domain may provision instant communication services for members of an online community maintained in different domains from the first domain.

Techniques for Sharing Content on a Web Page
Invented by Martin Hunt and Chris Szeto
Assigned to Meebo
US Patent Application 20100070899
Published March 18, 2010
Filed: September 11, 2009

Abstract

Techniques that enable content from a web page to be shared directly with one or more targets, which may be an application, a buddy from a buddy list (e.g., in a chat application), and the like. An embodiment of the present invention can identify contents on a web page that are to be made sharable and make the identified contents sharable. The content that is made sharable can then be shared with a share target using, for example, drag and drop operations. For example, a user may select sharable content on a web page, drag the content to a target, and drop it directly on the target thereby sharing the content with the target.

System and Method for Web Advertisement
Invented by Vijay Raghunathan and Jian Shen
Assigned to Meebo
US Patent Application 20090307082
Published December 10, 2009
Filed: June 8, 2009

Abstract

A method and system for web advertisement are disclosed. According to one embodiment a computer-implemented method comprises receiving chat room information, wherein the chat room information describes a current state of a chat room. The chat room information is provided to an advertisement server, and the advertisement server selects an advertisement based upon the chat room information. The advertisement is received and provided to an advertisement module, and the advertisement module provides the advertisement to the chat room.

Method and System for Sharing Advertisements in a Chat Environment
Invented by Andreas Binnewies
Assigned to Meebo
US Patent Application 20090307089
Published December 10, 2009
Filed: June 8, 2009

Abstract

A method and system for sharing advertisements in a chat environment are disclosed. According to one embodiment a computer-implemented method comprises receiving a first request for an advertisement from a first client, providing a first advertisement to the first client, the first client submitting a second request to transmit a reference to the first advertisement to a second client. A third request is received for the first advertisement from the second client and the first advertisement is provided to the second client.

System and Method for Sharing Content in an Instant Messaging Application
Invented by Christopher Szeto
Assigned to Meebo
US Patent Application 20090307325
Published December 10, 2009
Filed: June 8, 2009

Abstract

A method and system for sharing content in an instant messaging application are disclosed. According to one embodiment a computer-implemented method comprises logging content accessed by a first client, and a list of accessible content is updated and provided to the first client. A request is received from the first client to share first content of the list of accessible content with a second client, and a message is delivered to the second client, the message containing a link to the first content.

Method and System for Embedded Personalized Communication
Invented by Elaine Wherry, Sandy Jen, Seth Sternberg and Jian Shen
Assigned to Meebo
US Patent Application 20080010344
Published January 10, 2008
Filed: July 9, 2007

Abstract

A method and system for embedded personalized communication have been disclosed. According to one embodiment, a computer-implemented method comprises providing software code to be embedded in a webpage. The webpage is loaded including the software code. A configuration file is fetched from a configuration server in response to the software code. A first instant messaging user interface is rendered on the webpage. A request is sent to a web-based instant messaging server, the request initiating an instant messaging session with a second instant messaging user interface.

Method and System for Determining and Sharing a User’s Web Presence
Invented by Elaine Wherry, Sandy Jen, Seth Sternberg and Jian Shen
Assigned to Meebo
US Patent Application 20080126484
Published May 29, 2008
Filed: July 2, 2007

Abstract

A method and system for determining and sharing a user’s web presence have been disclosed. According to one embodiment, a computer implemented method comprises providing web presence information associated with a first user from a first computer having a first software module. The web presence information is received at a second computer. The web presence information is used to dynamically inform a second user communicating with the second computer of a website that the first user is viewing.

Method and System for Embedded Group Communication
Invented by Elaine Wherry, Sandy Jen, Seth Sternberg and Jian Shen
Assigned to Meebo
US Patent Application 20080034040
Published February 7, 2008
Filed: August 6, 2007

Abstract

A method and system for embedded group communications are disclosed. According to one embodiment, a computer-implemented method comprises providing software code to be embedded in a website. The website is loaded including the embedded software code. A configuration file is fetched from a configuration server in response to loading the embedded software code. The embedded software code renders a group chat room.

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23 thoughts on “Google Acquires Meebo and Meebo Patent Filings”

  1. The chat room Web ads remind me of using Gmail (when you notice ads reflect the content of previous emails). They would have to readjust if applying to G+. Imagine all the people in our industry getting plagued by in-industry ads while using it. haha – thanks for the info

  2. Pingback: Google Acquires Meebo and Meebo Patent Filings | Inbound.org
  3. Interesting — we use G+ a lot around the office, especially hangouts. I’d love to see some more investment into those techs, which seems to be what is going on.

    On any note — congrats to the Meebo team!

  4. Google are acquring small companies and startups to merge its capabilities and channeling their users to Google, thus increasing its market.

    Patent is one way to own something, and make money when others are commercializing it. I think instead of paying for a patent, purchasing the company who has the patent is a much better idea for a giant company like Google.

  5. Awesome! :) Finally Google will get some social skills in-house ;)

    Many doubt it, but I actually think Google+ might pass Facebook within a copule of years… they just have such a power with Youtube and search that with time they can more or less force us to use Google+ more…

    Thanks for a great post and all the best luck to you!

    //Johan

  6. Hi Anthony,

    I have to confess that I really haven’t spent much time looking at Meebo’s advertisements, though it does sound like Meebo had been placed on some fairly high profile sites. It does make sense that their ads would be targeted in some way to the topics of conversations during a chat. Do you think Google will continue to offer Meebo Bar type offerings and advertisements?

  7. Hi Molly,

    Not sure if Google is taking over the Web space, or if it just looks that way. They had been pretty busy acquiring patent filings from other companies in the past 6 months or so, and it looks like they have started making some acquisitions of ongoing companies again, with the announced acquisition of Meebo on Monday, and QuickOffice yesterday.

  8. Hi Rob,

    Between the Meebo acquisition, which brings more expertise on chat, and the QuickOffice acquisition, which brings office production tools to phones and tablets, it’s interesting to see Google focusing upon tools that could beef up services offered through Google Plus. It does look like Google is investing seriously in tools that might potentially enhance communication and collaboration in an office setting.

    I’m keeping my eyes peeled for another acquisition announcement today. :)

  9. Hi Diana,

    A number of the companies that Google has acquired patents from are either bigger companies like IBM or Xerox or Verizon that aren’t necessarily for sale or Motorola Mobility, which was, or smaller companies that may have decided to pursue other opportunities, like Grouptivity.

    Google has been acquiring other companies as well, and it’s possible that some of those acquisitions might have had as much to do with hiring the people working at those companies as they have in acquiring the technology involved, if not even more so in some cases.

  10. Hi Johan

    Thank you. I’m not convinced at this point that Google’s aim is in supplanting Facebook as much as it is in building their own social network that also plays a very strong role in providing useful and meaningful search results. Google’s “Search Plus Your World” social results do have the capacity to show us results from people we are connected to in a way that it would be very difficult for Facebook to do, with or without the assistance of Microsoft/Bing.

    Google’s authorship markup also makes it easier for Google to do a better job of associating content found on the Web with the authors of that content in a way that the Facebook/Bing partnership might have difficulties in matching.

  11. Google seems to buy up everything it can in order to be #1 in search and keep it that way.If Meebo is going to be integrated into Google+ means simply that they want to build a real alternative for Facebook.

  12. Hi Tom,

    Not sure that Google is too concerned about being an alternative for Facebook. The goals of Google Plus appear to have as much to do with associating content elsewhere on the web with authors who have Google Profiles, as they do in providing a social network.

  13. Looks like Google is trying its best to compete with facebook by acquiring meebo. Waiting to see meebo integrated in Google +.

  14. Google and social networking are definitely moving closer together. Facebook does seem to be in Google’s sights in terms of user interaction

  15. I am sure Google can make a few $ from this patent – Method and System for Sharing Advertisements in a Chat Environment

  16. Hi sajan,

    It would be interesting if Google decided to offer a Meebo toolbar that people could install on their websites. But, it’s also possible that Google made this acquisition to hire a lot of people with experience in the kinds of features that Meebo offered.

  17. Hi Chris,

    I’m not sure that we can say that Google is trying to take on Facebook in a head-to-head battle, but they do seem to be swimming in the same pool.

  18. Hi cmsbuffet,

    Given how much money Google has been earning from GMail and from Adsense, I wouldn’t blame them for considering that possibility very seriously.

  19. They are swimming in the same pool. IP is a good way to protect investments here as Google has the cash to defend or squish competition. IP suits are jsut money. More so this purchase is a great way to pull in talent and push G+ out more.

  20. Many doubt it, but I actually think Google+ might pass Facebook within a copule of years… they just have such a power with Youtube and search that with time they can more or less force us to use Google+ more.

  21. Thanks for a great post and all the best luck to you!
    If Meebo is going to be integrated into Google+ means simply that they want to build a real alternative for Facebook.

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