Patents can be a rather interesting source of information, at least when companies aren’t duking it out in court over them and claiming the font defense. Even though in many cases the ideas behind the the patents might never see light of day they do provide an insight to a company’s thinking, as well as fodder for tech bloggers.
In this case it seems that, according to Todd Bishop at Geekwire, Microsoft applied for a patent last year for an online matchmaking service that would be based around private affinities. You know, the type of things that hang around like skeletons in our closets but to Microsoft, and their patent, these are the things that could help us find better mates.
What is interesting,or humorous depending on your point of view, is the example that Microsoft uses in their patent filing.
For example, suppose two users, Ashley and Ross, are both young professionals and both like a specific series of comic books. However, both parties understand that comic books are often viewed as fanciful or juvenile, and, as such, to indicate an interest in comic books in one’s profile might lead to embarrassment or inappropriate characterizations. Accordingly, it is very likely that neither Ashley nor Ross will know of their common affinity, except by chance. …
Once (the) matching component identifies the matching affinity, (the) notification component can provide Ashley (a) message indicating, e.g. “We’ve located someone who shares your affinity for comic books. The two of you might have a lot in common.”
The patent was originally filed back in June 2009 but has only recently been made public.