Easy mobile photo sharing

Linket Corp. has a patent on Mobile photo sharing via barcode, sound or collision.

Jane talks to nearby Bob, who is a stranger. She shows him photos on her mobile device. He wants a copy of a photo and maybe also her contact information. What is a simple way to do this, that minimises the number of manual steps either has to do?

Jane could work for a company that wants to promote its products. She has a mobile device with images of the products. The device could be a tablet or smartphone. She makes data that has a link to a product image, where the image is on the Internet. The data also has fields with her contact information, like her email address and phone number. The data is encoded into a barcode on her device screen.

Bob scans it with his mobile device. It decodes the data and gets her contact information and a link to the image. His device can reply with an auto-generated message to Jane. Her device detects this and records his electronic address. Her device can send a message to him, offering a discount or extra details about the product.

Jane makes a barcode of data for Bob

The link to the image that he is interested in is a key advantage over just getting Jane’s name and contact information. The latter can just be conveyed by a business card. The problem is that if her firm has a bunch of products, they do not know before she meets him, which one he likes. Hopefully, Bob now having a direct link to a photo (or more data) of the product will improve the odds of him later buying it. The figure shows Jane being a saleswoman for a car dealer, making a barcode with an URL of a photo of a car that Bob is interested in.

The invention permits easy transmission of photos and contact information between 2 people, with minimal manual steps.

Another use is for Bob to easily comment on Jane’s photo, which is on a webpage. Bob writes or speaks his comment on his device. This is uploaded to the server, which adds the comment to the webpage. Think of this as an informal means of reviewing a product or service.

A company can use the patent to build a database of potential customers interested in their products. The advantage to the firm is that people (the Bobs) can readily get information from Jane in a form that they can use electronically to follow up.

Dating

Another use is in dating apps. It is a Darwinian struggle amongst such apps to differentiate themselves with a unique feature. The patent can help.

When Jane shows a photo of a product, she is the product. If Bob finds her attractive, then scanning the barcode gives him her contact information and her photo. A situation like speed dating, where couples meet and chat for a few minutes and then move on to others, is well suited.

Take this one step further. Jane might be a member of a sorority, where some girls are too shy to do speed dating or other singles events. Jane can sub for her sorority sisters. She goes to events with her mobile device and photos and contact data for them. There is a nuance. Suppose Tania is one of those shy girls. Jane has Tania’s photo to show guys. But Tania is very shy. She does not want her email address or phone number passed out. Instead, Jane puts her (Jane’s) contact data. She tells the guys this.

It can be asked, why cannot the shy girls just put their information on a website? Perhaps protected by a password. But that just begs the question of who gets access. More generally, when Jane physically meets the guys, she acts as a filter for guys who are near the girls. She can assess them, later giving feedback to the girls about who she thinks are ok.

Thus we have a means of encouraging more participation in social events by hitherto unaddressed users. An unmet need.

Another advantage of the patent for dating (or other uses) is the lightweight nature of what is passed via the barcode. Bob is not required to install an app. Though this is not forbidden. The data packet has contact information and an URL of the girl’s photo. Very small size by today’s standards. The data can be formatted in XML, making it amenable to a parsing program that Bob has installed. One such program might spider the URLs and make a new data packet for Bob, with the girls’ photos present.

Above talked about girls presenting photos of themselves to guys. This does not preclude other cases, where the sexes are reversed. Or for gay and lesbian contexts.

Another case is where the barcode and photo are on different devices. Jane wants Bob, who might be a professional photographer, to take a photo of herself and email it to her. She transmits her email address to him via a barcode, sound or collision.

Other photo sharing

Photo sharing is very common on the Web. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and Snap use this extensively, to great success. (Ok, Snap uses very short videos, but you get the idea.) Our patent is for localized photo sharing. Where perhaps there is no need or desire by users to promote their photos at a global level.

Checking Gig Worker

Return to the case where Jane works for a firm explaining its products. She might be a gig worker doing this part time. But unlike say DoorDash, Lyft or Uber associates, how can Jane’s employer ascertain how much work she has done. Those other firms have electronic records of their workers’ interactions. But if Jane just talks to strangers, how to check? One way is when Bob looks at the data he scanned from Jane. And he clicks on the URL of the photo. This goes to the firm’s web server. Its logs can show when this happens, and from which Internet address. Also, when Jane makes the data, the URL can have a unique value in it, that refers to Jane. This lets her employer get a measure of how assiduous she has been.

Audio and Collisions

Instead of a barcode, other wireless means are possible. Including chirp — an identifier of the data is transmitted as audio from Jane’s device. Bob’s device decodes it, gets the identifier and gets the data from a server.

Another method uses collisions — with accelerometers and geolocation on both devices.

The way to think about chirp or collisions is that these are ways equivalent to a barcode, to get data from Jane’s phone to Bob’s phone across the air gap that separates them. The details of how this is done can be pursued with us.

Linket

The patent can be integrated with linkets. Instead of Jane’s email address in the barcode, she might encode a linket [Seller Jane]. In turn, when Bob decodes the linket, he can interacts with her via the mobile app she has chosen to associate with her linket. This gives a deeper interaction than just email.

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