Friendster awarded 'compatibility scoring' patent

The social network has earned three other patents in the past and says more are on the way.

Caroline McCarthy Former Staff writer, CNET News
Caroline McCarthy, a CNET News staff writer, is a downtown Manhattanite happily addicted to social-media tools and restaurant blogs. Her pre-CNET resume includes interning at an IT security firm and brewing cappuccinos.
Caroline McCarthy

Social network Friendster announced Tuesday that it has been awarded its fourth U.S. patent, called "Compatibility Scoring of Users in a Social Network." It does pretty much exactly what it sounds like--it parses user profile data to find people who might be compatible as friends.

The social network, considered an also-ran in the U.S. but a much bigger phenomenon in a number of Asian countries--it has 65 million registered users in Asia--had its first patent granted in July 2006 and says that more are on the way.

"In just six years, social networking has become both an industry--since 8 of the top 20 largest Web sites in the world are social networks--and a critical platform for over half a billion Internet users globally to share, communicate, connect, and be entertained with existing and new friends, family, and colleagues," Friendster CEO Richard Kimber, whom the company hired from Google in August, said in a release.

"A core component of the evolution of social networks is the ability of the online 'social graph' to represent our real social life. Understanding the common interests between people establishes common ground to build and enhance relationships," he added.

In case you were keeping track, this patent is No. 7,451,161 and it was granted on November 11.