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Sharing data within an instant messaging session

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20120290954 patent thumbnailZoom

Sharing data within an instant messaging session


Sharing data within an instant messaging session is described. A user participating in an instant messaging session may request a data access key. The key, which provides access to data associated with the user, may then be transmitted via the instant messaging session to one or more other participants in the instant messaging session. The other instant messaging session participants can then use the key to access, via the instant messaging session, the data associated with the user.

Browse recent Microsoft Corporation patents - Redmond, WA, US
Inventors: Imran Qureshi, Evan Gridley
USPTO Applicaton #: #20120290954 - Class: 715758 (USPTO) - 11/15/12 - Class 715 
Data Processing: Presentation Processing Of Document, Operator Interface Processing, And Screen Saver Display Processing > Operator Interface (e.g., Graphical User Interface) >Computer Supported Collaborative Work Between Plural Users >Computer Conferencing >Chat Room

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The Patent Description & Claims data below is from USPTO Patent Application 20120290954, Sharing data within an instant messaging session.

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PRIORITY CLAIMS

This application is a continuation of and claims priority to U.S. patent application Ser. No. 12/645,054, filed Dec. 22, 2009, which claims priority to U.S. Pat. No. 7,660,904, filed May 11, 2004 and issued on Feb. 9, 2010, the disclosures of which are incorporated by reference herein.

TECHNICAL FIELD

This invention relates to instant messaging, and more specifically to sharing data within an instant messaging session.

BACKGROUND

Electronic calendars have become a common tool used by individuals to track meetings, appointments, and other scheduled events. When scheduling an event that is to include multiple individuals, the person scheduling the event may or may not have access to view calendars or schedules associated with the other individuals to be invited to the event. When a user schedules an event, indicating one or more other individuals to be in attendance, an email message is typically sent to the other users, and the other users can each either accept or decline the meeting request. Because of the delay that may occur between the time that one user schedules an event and the time at which the other attendees have checked their email and responded to the meeting request, it is possible that either the scheduled meeting time will have passed or that one or more of the attendees may have scheduled or been invited to attend a conflicting event. If this happens, the meeting may then need to be re-scheduled, and the scheduling process must be started again. In addition, because the initiating user may not get an answer right away, he typically needs to also schedule personal time to check for email responses to determine whether the meeting has been accepted or if it needs to be rescheduled.

Instant messaging is an increasingly popular communication tool that enables two or more users to exchange real-time text messages via a network or peer-to-peer connection. Instant messaging differs from email in that instant messages are exchanged in real-time between two users who are online at the same time. On the other hand, email messages may be exchanged between one user who is online at the time the message is created and another user who may not be online to check email until much later.

While instant messaging is an effective tool for communication, it does not support some of the other tasks that may naturally flow from a real-time communication. For example, if two users are engaged in an instant messaging conversation, and decide to schedule a time to meet in person, each user may need to consult a personal calendar, and a significant amount of time may be spent exchanging scheduling information before being able to identify a time that both users are available to meet. This scenario becomes even more difficult if more than two individuals are participating in an instant messaging conversation and want to schedule a time to get together in person.

Accordingly, a need exists for an instant messaging session tool that enables users to easily share information, such as calendar data, in real-time.

SUMMARY

Techniques for enabling data sharing within an instant messaging session are described. Users participating in an instant messaging session can submit through the instant messaging session, a request for a data access key that provides access to a user\'s data, such as personal calendar data. The keys are then exchanged between the users through the instant messaging session. The key exchange enables the users participating in the instant messaging session to access one another\'s data.

When users have access to one another\'s data, other tasks may also be performed. For example, in addition to viewing one another\'s calendar data, users may also schedule a meeting to be added to the instant messaging session participants\' calendars. Meeting invitations are distributed and users can accept or decline the meeting within the instant messaging session.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a pictorial diagram that illustrates two users communicating via an exemplary instant messaging session within which calendar sharing and meeting scheduling may be performed.

FIG. 2 is a pictorial diagram of an exemplary instant messaging user interface screen through which calendar sharing may be initiated.

FIG. 3 is a pictorial diagram of an exemplary instant messaging user interface screen through which a calendar sharing invitation may be accepted or declined.

FIG. 4 is a pictorial diagram of an exemplary instant messaging user interface screen that may be used to display shared calendar information to a first user participating in an instant messaging conversation.

FIG. 5 is a pictorial diagram of an exemplary instant messaging user interface screen that may be used to display shared calendar information to a second user participating in an instant messaging conversation.

FIG. 6 is a pictorial diagram of an exemplary instant messaging user interface screen through which a user may select a level of detail that is displayed when the user\'s calendar is shared with others.

FIG. 7 is a pictorial diagram of an exemplary instant messaging user interface screen through which a user may change the date for which shared calendar data is displayed.

FIG. 8 is a pictorial diagram of an exemplary instant messaging user interface screen through which a user may schedule a new meeting.

FIG. 9 is a pictorial diagram of an exemplary instant messaging user interface screen that may be used to display an invitation to accept or decline a scheduled meeting.

FIG. 10 is a pictorial diagram of an exemplary instant messaging user interface screen that may be displayed after a user accepts a meeting invitation.

FIG. 11 is a pictorial diagram of an exemplary instant messaging user interface screen that may be displayed after a user declines a meeting invitation.

FIG. 12 is a pictorial diagram of an exemplary environment in which calendar sharing within an instant messaging session may be implemented.

FIG. 13 is a pictorial diagram that illustrates an exemplary series of communications that may be performed to establish a calendar sharing session within an instant messaging session.

FIG. 14 is a pictorial diagram that illustrates an exemplary series of communications that may be performed to enable the display of shared calendar information within an instant messaging session.

FIG. 15 is a pictorial diagram that illustrates an exemplary series of communications that may be performed to enable the scheduling of a new meeting to be attended by participants of an instant messaging session.

FIG. 16 is a pictorial diagram that illustrates an exemplary series of communications that may be performed in response to a user\'s acceptance of a meeting invitation.

FIG. 17 is a pictorial diagram that illustrates an exemplary series of communications that may be performed in response to a user\'s declination of a meeting invitation.

FIG. 18 is a block diagram that illustrates select components of an exemplary client device configured to support calendar sharing within an instant messaging session.

FIG. 19 is a block diagram that illustrates select components of an exemplary calendar server configured to support calendar sharing within an instant messaging session.

FIG. 20 is a flow diagram of an exemplary method for sharing calendar data within an instant messaging session.

FIG. 21 is a flow diagram of an exemplary method for scheduling and accepting a meeting within an instant messaging session.

FIG. 22 is a flow diagram of an exemplary method for scheduling and declining a meeting within an instant messaging session.

FIG. 23 is a flow diagram of an exemplary method for providing authenticated access to user data.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Overview

The embodiments described below provide techniques for sharing data within an instant messaging session. The described exemplary implementation enables users to share calendar data and schedule meetings within an instant messaging session. It is recognized, however, that the techniques described herein are not limited to enabling the sharing of calendar data, but that they may be used to enable other types of data sharing and related tasks that may also be performed via an instant messaging session.

In the described exemplary implementation, when two users are communicating via an instant messaging session, one of the users can initiate a calendar sharing request that, if accepted by the other user, causes the instant messaging user interface to display calendar information associated with both users. Both users are then able, within the instant messaging user interface, to browse both users\' calendars simultaneously. Either user is then also able to schedule a meeting to be attended by both users. Because the meeting is scheduled through an instant messaging session, both users can accept the meeting, and the meeting is promptly scheduled in both users\' calendars.

Access to a user\'s calendar data is controlled by the use of an encrypted key. When a user requests a key to access their personal calendar data, the key can then be given to another user to grant the other user permission to view the calendar data. By exchanging data access keys within an instant messaging session, a user can give another user temporary access to their calendar data. That is, the key that is shared can be configured to expire at a pre-determined time, or based on some other criteria (e.g., when the instant messaging session is closed). Because the data is shared within an instant messaging session, communication based on the shared data can also be facilitated. For example, when scheduling a meeting to be added to another user\'s calendar, a meeting invitation can be sent and a confirmation can be received via instant messaging, rather than through email.

Instant Messaging Scenario

FIG. 1 illustrates an exemplary instant messaging session through which calendar sharing and meeting scheduling may be performed. A first user (Adam) 102 and a second user (Bob) 104 are engaged in an instant messaging conversation 106. Text associated with instant messaging conversation 106 is displayed to Adam 102 in instant messaging user interface 108, which is presented to Adam 102 through computer system 110. Similarly, text associated with instant messaging conversation 106 is displayed to Bob 104 in instant messaging user interface 112, which is presented to Bob 104 through computer system 114. The text messages that are exchanged are transmitted between computer system 110 and computer system 114 via connection 116, which represents, for example, a network connection or peer-to-peer connection.

Although illustrated and described with only two individuals participating in an instant messaging session, it is recognized that the techniques described herein may also be applied to scenarios in which three or more individuals are participating in an instant messaging session.

User Interface

FIGS. 2-11 illustrate exemplary user interface screens to support calendar sharing and meeting scheduling within the instant messaging session illustrated in FIG. 1. FIG. 2 illustrates an exemplary instant messaging user interface screen through which calendar sharing may be initiated. In the illustrated instant messaging session, Adam 102 and Bob 104 have exchanged dialog, and have agreed to meet for dinner later in the week. When trying to agree on a day, Adam 102 indicates that he will check the calendar. At this point, Adam 102 selects, for example, a Launch Site menu item 202, which causes a drop-down menu 204 of available activities to be displayed. Adam 102 selects a Schedule a Meeting menu item 206, which causes a calendar sharing invitation to be sent from instant messaging user interface 108 to instant messaging user interface 112.

In an exemplary implementation, if the instant messaging session includes three or more individuals, calendar sharing invitations may be sent to each of the users. Alternatively, a user may specify which instant messaging session participants to include in a calendar sharing session.

FIG. 3 illustrates an exemplary instant messaging user interface screen through which a calendar sharing invitation may be accepted or declined. As described above, selection of a Schedule a Meeting menu item 206, as illustrated in FIG. 2 causes a calendar sharing invitation 302 to be sent to and displayed to Bob 104 through instant messaging user interface 112. When invitation 302 is sent to instant messaging user interface 112, a confirmation 304 is displayed in instant messaging user interface 108, indicating to Adam 102 that the calendar sharing invitation 302 has been sent to Bob 104. In the illustrated example, Adam 102 can cancel the invitation by selecting the cancel link 306. Similarly, Bob 104 can accept or decline the invitation by selecting the accept link 308 or by selecting the decline link 310, respectively.

FIGS. 4 and 5 illustrate exemplary instant messaging user interface screens through which shared calendar information may be viewed. FIG. 4 illustrates display of shared calendar data through instant messaging user interface screen 108, which is displayed to Adam 102. Similarly, FIG. 5 illustrates display of shared calendar data through instant messaging user interface screen 112, which is displayed to Bob 104. For example, when Bob selects the accept link 308, as illustrated in FIG. 3, Adam\'s instant messaging user interface 108 (shown in FIG. 4) increases in size to display meeting scheduling area 402. A confirmation 404 that Bob 104 has accepted the invitation to share calendars is also displayed. Meeting scheduling area 402 includes a menu bar 406, a date indicator 408, a current user calendar area 410, and a shared calendar area 412. In an exemplary implementation, meeting scheduling area 402 may also include a forecasted weather conditions area 414 in which weather data associated with the date indicator 408 may be displayed. This may be useful, for example, when users are trying to schedule an outdoor event, such as a barbeque.

In the illustrated example, shared calendar area 412 has a “Shared Calendars” heading. In an alternate implementation, the heading may be dynamically generated to include, for example, the name or names of users whose calendar data is being displayed.



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stats Patent Info
Application #
US 20120290954 A1
Publish Date
11/15/2012
Document #
13561343
File Date
07/30/2012
USPTO Class
715758
Other USPTO Classes
International Class
/
Drawings
24



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