Microsoft mixes social networking and TV

14 Aug 2007

Television over the internet or IPTV has opened up a whole new world of choice for subscribers, and also a new set of possibilities for social networking applications that could potentially act as a communication-sum-control hub for the user.

Microsoft has filed a patent for an instant messaging system that would act like MSN Messenger, connecting you to all your friends but also which would remotely connect to DVD player, television, gaming device or media centre and track what movies or programmes you watch.

Based on previous viewing the messaging system could profile your viewing tastes, automatically letting your friends know what TV programmes you’ve been following.

The patent application details how the instant messaging service with social networking ability would also allow the user to control the operation and programming of his or her media content, effectively acting as a chat service, networking portal and media player all in one.

It also describes a Voice over Internet Protocol or VOIP service that would allow the user to speak to the programme and tell it to record a certain programme from their digital video recorder or perhaps play some clips from their laptop.

“A user may be at work and realize that a particular program of interest is going to be broadcast while they are still at work. In this case, the user can access their instant messaging application and click on the TVBuddy icon to open a conversation window with the bot,” explains Anthony Bristol, patent applicant on behalf of Microsoft.

“Once opened, the user can use the conversation window to remotely make their programming/recording selection.”

Microsoft has suggested within the patent application that the best platform for extending this technology to is the existing MSN Messenger.

By Marie Boran