Facebook wants to be the one to discover the next “selfie,” a term that used to not even be a word, and now has become so ubiquitous in the youth’s vocabulary. In other words, the social network is looking to catch slang before it becomes popular.
But that’s rather tricky and involves being in the right social circles; otherwise, you’ll probably hear the new lingo only when it has already hit the mainstream. But Facebook believes its new patent can help them catch those words before that moment.
Via the new social glossary technology they’ve acquired, the social network will be able to detect slang, acronyms and other neologisms – words that receive a new meaning in a new context.
In order to do that, the software will be on the lookout for words that are repeated in a particular order among users who share language and location. The neologisms that aren’t already associated with a particular definition will then be added to a glossary of terms.
But just as they go in the social glossary, the terms can be pulled out, as well, should they fall out of favor – for example, describing someone who is evading his duty as “flubbing the dub” when you’re not in the ‘80s.
Other common traits that the software will look for in the members of a social group are age, location, language, and really everything else in between; the code will keep all these details in its database.
Even though the code will initially add terms on its own, Facebook hopes that users will eventually be able to answer polls regarding their own turns of phrase – should they get official recognition or not?
Facebook has yet to unveil the ways in which the glossary would be used, or if it will make any money for the company. Some suspect it will operate similarly to Urban Dictionary as the patent filing mentions an interface that would enable users to add, edit, and remove words in the glossary.
But as with any other patent, there’s no telling if Facebook will eventually use it; if it does, some very useful applications could emerge. By understanding what you’re saying, the social platform can target you with more relevant news articles (or ads).
You might think this kind of software is rather cool, and it could improve your social experience. Of perhaps you think Mr. Zuckerberg just wants to stay hip.
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