WO2004088543A1 - A system for transferring web sessions, and a method for conducting web sessions on the internet - Google Patents

A system for transferring web sessions, and a method for conducting web sessions on the internet

Info

Publication number
WO2004088543A1
WO2004088543A1 PCT/NO2004/000101 NO2004000101W WO2004088543A1 WO 2004088543 A1 WO2004088543 A1 WO 2004088543A1 NO 2004000101 W NO2004000101 W NO 2004000101W WO 2004088543 A1 WO2004088543 A1 WO 2004088543A1
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WO
Grant status
Application
Patent type
Prior art keywords
web
session
user
server
web session
Prior art date
Application number
PCT/NO2004/000101
Other languages
French (fr)
Inventor
Van Do Thanh
Erik Vanem
Van Tran Dao
Tore Erling JØNVIK
Pål LØKSTAD
Original Assignee
Telenor Asa
Priority date (The priority date is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the date listed.)
Filing date
Publication date

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Classifications

    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04LTRANSMISSION OF DIGITAL INFORMATION, e.g. TELEGRAPHIC COMMUNICATION
    • H04L67/00Network-specific arrangements or communication protocols supporting networked applications
    • H04L67/22Tracking the activity of the user
    • GPHYSICS
    • G06COMPUTING; CALCULATING; COUNTING
    • G06FELECTRIC DIGITAL DATA PROCESSING
    • G06F17/00Digital computing or data processing equipment or methods, specially adapted for specific functions
    • G06F17/30Information retrieval; Database structures therefor ; File system structures therefor
    • G06F17/30861Retrieval from the Internet, e.g. browsers
    • G06F17/30899Browsing optimisation
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04LTRANSMISSION OF DIGITAL INFORMATION, e.g. TELEGRAPHIC COMMUNICATION
    • H04L29/00Arrangements, apparatus, circuits or systems, not covered by a single one of groups H04L1/00 - H04L27/00 contains provisionally no documents
    • H04L29/02Communication control; Communication processing contains provisionally no documents
    • H04L29/06Communication control; Communication processing contains provisionally no documents characterised by a protocol
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04LTRANSMISSION OF DIGITAL INFORMATION, e.g. TELEGRAPHIC COMMUNICATION
    • H04L29/00Arrangements, apparatus, circuits or systems, not covered by a single one of groups H04L1/00 - H04L27/00 contains provisionally no documents
    • H04L29/02Communication control; Communication processing contains provisionally no documents
    • H04L29/06Communication control; Communication processing contains provisionally no documents characterised by a protocol
    • H04L29/08Transmission control procedure, e.g. data link level control procedure
    • H04L29/08081Protocols for network applications
    • H04L29/08702Protocols for network applications involving intermediate processing or storage in the network, e.g. proxy
    • H04L29/08846Arrangements to globally emulate or virtualize the functionalities of an end device
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04LTRANSMISSION OF DIGITAL INFORMATION, e.g. TELEGRAPHIC COMMUNICATION
    • H04L67/00Network-specific arrangements or communication protocols supporting networked applications
    • H04L67/02Network-specific arrangements or communication protocols supporting networked applications involving the use of web-based technology, e.g. hyper text transfer protocol [HTTP]
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04LTRANSMISSION OF DIGITAL INFORMATION, e.g. TELEGRAPHIC COMMUNICATION
    • H04L67/00Network-specific arrangements or communication protocols supporting networked applications
    • H04L67/04Network-specific arrangements or communication protocols supporting networked applications adapted for terminals or networks with limited resources or for terminal portability, e.g. wireless application protocol [WAP]
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04LTRANSMISSION OF DIGITAL INFORMATION, e.g. TELEGRAPHIC COMMUNICATION
    • H04L67/00Network-specific arrangements or communication protocols supporting networked applications
    • H04L67/14Network-specific arrangements or communication protocols supporting networked applications for session management
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04LTRANSMISSION OF DIGITAL INFORMATION, e.g. TELEGRAPHIC COMMUNICATION
    • H04L67/00Network-specific arrangements or communication protocols supporting networked applications
    • H04L67/14Network-specific arrangements or communication protocols supporting networked applications for session management
    • H04L67/142Network-specific arrangements or communication protocols supporting networked applications for session management provided for managing session state for stateless protocols; Signalling a session state; State transitions; Keeping-state mechanisms
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04LTRANSMISSION OF DIGITAL INFORMATION, e.g. TELEGRAPHIC COMMUNICATION
    • H04L67/00Network-specific arrangements or communication protocols supporting networked applications
    • H04L67/28Network-specific arrangements or communication protocols supporting networked applications for the provision of proxy services, e.g. intermediate processing or storage in the network
    • H04L67/2814Network-specific arrangements or communication protocols supporting networked applications for the provision of proxy services, e.g. intermediate processing or storage in the network for data redirection
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04LTRANSMISSION OF DIGITAL INFORMATION, e.g. TELEGRAPHIC COMMUNICATION
    • H04L67/00Network-specific arrangements or communication protocols supporting networked applications
    • H04L67/30Network-specific arrangements or communication protocols supporting networked applications involving profiles
    • H04L67/306User profiles
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04LTRANSMISSION OF DIGITAL INFORMATION, e.g. TELEGRAPHIC COMMUNICATION
    • H04L67/00Network-specific arrangements or communication protocols supporting networked applications
    • H04L67/28Network-specific arrangements or communication protocols supporting networked applications for the provision of proxy services, e.g. intermediate processing or storage in the network
    • H04L67/2866Architectural aspects
    • H04L67/289Architectural aspects where the intermediate processing is functionally located closer to the data consumer application, e.g. in same machine, in same home or in same subnetwork
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04LTRANSMISSION OF DIGITAL INFORMATION, e.g. TELEGRAPHIC COMMUNICATION
    • H04L69/00Application independent communication protocol aspects or techniques in packet data networks
    • H04L69/30Definitions, standards or architectural aspects of layered protocol stacks
    • H04L69/32High level architectural aspects of 7-layer open systems interconnection [OSI] type protocol stacks
    • H04L69/322Aspects of intra-layer communication protocols among peer entities or protocol data unit [PDU] definitions
    • H04L69/329Aspects of intra-layer communication protocols among peer entities or protocol data unit [PDU] definitions in the application layer, i.e. layer seven

Abstract

A system and method for transferring web sessions on the Internet are disclosed. The system includes a Web session transfer service server which serves as a proxy for client terminals. The server includes a database containing pro­files with user data and session information. A user can resume an ongoing session or start a new session in a Vir­tual Browser on said server. The server will redirect re­quests and responses between the client terminal and web servers on the Internet, monitor the sessions, store ses­sion data as favourite URIs, cookies, history etc, in the database. By this system and method, a user can use any terminal in his web sessions, e.g. a borrowed terminal, and still experience the same ease of use as when browsing from his own computer. It is possible to put a web session on hold on one terminal and resume it later on another. All information and data gained during the session will be saved.

Description

A SYSTEM FOR TRANSFERRING WEB SESSIONS, AND A METHOD FOR CONDUCTING WEB SESSIONS ON THE INTERNET.

Technical field

This invention is applicable for the technical fields of Information and communication technologies and in mobility of web sessions.

Technical background

The problem area

The success of the World Wide Web is expressed in the ex- plosion both in the number of users and in the huge amount of useful information it contains . In a few years the web has grown to become public property that almost everyone in the modern world uses for private, commercial and official purposes. The World Wide Web is also expected to continue its growth and to be used in more and more circumstances in the future, as it is ideal for both publishing and finding any kind of information. Recently, one has seen indications on a further evolution of the Web to also contain functionality as well as mere information.

The data available on the World Wide Web are accessible to users with any kind of web browsers on personal computers, workstations or handheld devices that has access to the Internet. In principle, one can access the same information on the web from a borrowed computer as one can from one' s own personal computer from anywhere in the world. This ensures personal mobility in that the users are. not restricted to use a dedicated terminal.

However, there are some problems related to the personal mobility of web session, and there are a number of issues that makes it easier to browse the web from the same terminal each time. This might be understood as a restriction of personal mobility when it comes to web session. When browsing the web, the user often comes across web sites of particular interest. In order to more easily find back to these sites, one can save the corresponding URIs as favour- ites on the browser. The browser will also record a history of previously visited sites so that the user can easily navigate back without having to trace the information anew.

These favourites and history are however stored locally on a specific terminal, and if the user wants to continue a web session on another computer, it will be necessary to start the whole session anew. All information already found must be sought after again, and this can be a bothersome process. Especially as it has already been performed it seems needless to do it again. Cookies is another issue that makes browsing the web from a borrowed terminal a different experience from browsing it from one's own PC, and hence restricts personal mobility. Cookies are small pieces of data used by web servers to identify and describe web users. The cookies are stored on the client terminal, e.g. a PC and are retrieved by the web server when needed. These cookies makes web browsing easier for the user and are stored locally on one machine. When the user is using another machine for a web session, the cookies will not be available, and the web browsing will not feel the same.

The fact that history, favourites, cookies etc. are stored locally on one machine thus complicates web browsing in various ways:

1. When previous stored information or data is needed in a web session carried out on another .terminal than the one usually used. This information or data must then be sought after again.

2. When new useful information or data are found during a web session carried out on another terminal than the one usually used. I-f this data is stored during that session, it will not be available from the usual terminal, and thus not be available on future web sessions .

This is a problem for the users in many situations, for ex- ample :

1. For users that possess multiple devices that can be used for web browsing, each terminal will have it's own set of favourites, history cookies etc. These will be different, and it will be a different experience to browse the web from the different terminals. For example, many users own both a PC at home, a workstation at the office, a laptop and a PDA.

2. When upgrading the web terminal and replacing for example an old PC with a new one, the favourites, his- tory, cookies etc. will be lost, if not specific actions are taken to move them over to the new PC. These specific tasks can be difficult to perform for many users, and instead the information is lost.

3. When borrowing equipment in a web session.

In order to help the user to experience the same services from any terminal, there is a need for a service that allows the user to transfer a web session from one terminal to another. It should be possible to terminate a web session on one terminal and resume it on another without loos- ing useful information independent of which terminal the user was using at the time this information was found.

Known solutions

One solution to the described problem area is known today:

The Virtual Terminal data services. These services allow the user to transfer data sessions, i.e. web sessions from one terminal to another. With the Virtual Terminal data session, a web session can be created on one .terminal and retrieved from another.

The concept of the Virtual Terminal data services is illustrated in Fig. 1.

With the Virtual Terminal data services (sometimes also referred to as the Device Unifying Service - DUS - data service) , the user will browse the web with a specially made Java-based Virtual Terminal browser. This browser must be used to create new web sessions. Once they are created, they can be retrieved in their current state by other instances of this special browser located on other terminals.

The web sessions can also be sent from one terminal to another. In order to be able to do this, the terminal that are to receive the session must be registered and defined in the Virtual Terminal, i.e. it must be a known device.

This terminal must also have a special Java-based listener running before it can receive sessions, and if this is not running, it must first be started before the session can be sent. Assuming the terminal is known, defined and has the listener running, the session will pop up at the destination device when sending it from the originating device. Active sessions can also be deleted from a DUS data services homepage.

A Virtual Terminal data service implementation consists of different components:

• The Virtual Terminal server installed on an IP-based network where the actual service is deployed.

• A user profile server with a database where the user profiles are stored.

• . A WEB/WAP server that provides access to the service for its customers over the Internet. • A specially made web browser that must be installed on the client devices.

• A specially made Java listener that must be installed on the client devices.

A prototype of the Virtual Terminal data service is already implemented as a proof-of-concept . This prototype service allows the user to coordinate his web session and offers the following functionality:

• Sending data sessions, e.g. web session, e-mail ses- sion etc, from a terminal to another provided they both have the DUS browser and listener running.

• Fetching active data sessions that are previously created with the special DUS browser from other terminals .

o One common user profile available on all devices including, address book, environments, schedule, list of devices etc.

The solution is available to users that subscribe to the service directly from the service provider and hence are given a username and password to log into the provider's Web page. The subscribers also need to receive, the Virtual Terminal (DUS) web browser and the listener and install it on all terminals that are to take advantage of this service at some time.

Even though the Virtual Terminal data service will offer a solution to the initial problem area, it suffers from some serious problems and shortcomings.

One of the most serious problems with the Virtual Terminal data service is that it requires special software to be in- stalled on the devices that is to take advantage of its functionality. If a user should use this service to transfer a web session from a terminal to the other, both these terminals would have to have the Virtual Terminal (DUS) data client installed. This client contains the special web browser and the listener that is needed to operate the service.

The fact that this software needs to be installed prior to a Web session transfer restricts the range of use of this service considerably. It will not be possible to borrow previously unknown terminals, for example while visiting new places, and to transfer active sessions to this machine. Only terminals that already have this client installed can be used and this limits the number of terminals to very few.

The Virtual Terminal data service can only send a web session to a terminal it already recognises and knows about. All terminals that a user wants to be able to send sessions to, must therefore be defined beforehand in the Virtual Terminal data server. This will restrict the number of pos- sible terminals quite drastically. It will also have to be done manually by the user, and is therefore not very user friendly, requiring him to perform additional tasks.

With the Virtual Terminal data service everything, such as the favourite and history URIs and cookies, are stored lo- cally on the client browser. When sending a session to another terminal, the session will pop up in a new browser window. All state information will be sent to the new terminal and the history information of that particular session will be stored locally. on the new terminal. In this way it is possible to continue an active session on another terminal in real time. It is not possible however to stop a web session and to resume it later. Since all information is stored locally, once the session is stopped, all information is lost. It is thus only possible with real-time transfer of web sessions. The more useful option of ending the session to resume it some time later on a different, terminal is not possible. Cookies that are received during the session will also be lost and not available in subsequent sessions.

Another shortcoming of the Virtual Terminal data service is that it is not possible to store favourites for future use. All information is stored locally and once the session is finished, all information is lost. If the user is using a borrowed1 terminal in a web .session and comes across new sites that he wants to store in his favourites for future use on his own terminal, this is simply not an option. Since this would be a very helpful functionality to offer the user', the lack of this is a serious shortcoming with the existing service.

Brief summary of the invention

It is an object of the present invention to amend all the problems with the current solution that is addressed above.

In particular, it is an object to make transfer of web sessions possible for users in an easy and straightforward way.

Another object is to make it possible for the user to use any terminals in his Web sessions and still experience the same ease of use as browsing from his own computer.

Another object is to make it possible for the user to store all his bookmarks, favourites, profiles, history, cookies etc. in a central place .and to use it whenever needed, from whatever terminal and using whatever brand of browser.

Another object is to make it possible to put a Web session on hold on one terminal and resume it later on another. All information and data gained during the session will be saved.- Another object is to make it possible to store useful in- - formation like a profile in a central place. Information such as name, address, phone numbers, e-mail addresses etc that are often used during Web sessions, e.g. when filling out forms, and user names and passwords can be stored in this central place and will be available when needed. In this way, the user will not have to repeatedly enter the same data and the Web session will be more effective and less troublesome.

Still another object of the invention is to allow a user to define e-mail preferences in this central place, so that one can send e-mails from any browser without having to set up and change the e-mail preferences locally on any machine one would like to use.

Yet another object of the new invention is to store address book, calendar etc. centrally.

The invention will make this possible without facing the problems that other known suggestions are facing. It will not be necessary to have any proprietary software installed on the client device. Everything that is needed is placed on a server connected to the Internet, and the service can be utilized without any additional requirements on the client side. It will be possible to use the service from previously unknown terminals without having to define them and without the need to install anything on it. Different types of terminals can also be used - PCs, laptops and PDAs - as long as they can run a normal Web browser. All personal and session specific data are saved and stored on the server in the network and it is thus available and accessible for fu- ture use.

The objects enumerated above will be achieved in a system and method for transferring web sessions according to the appended patent claims. The system includes a Web session transfer service server on an IP-based network connected to and accessible from the Internet, a database containing profiles with personal data and information for every user using the system, said server being arranged to redirect requests and responses between client terminals and web. servers on the Internet, monitor web sessions and store session data in said database .

International Patent . Application WO 00/70838 discloses a system for accessing Web sessions through an intermediate server. The system includes a client terminal connected to an intermediate server which is connected to a Web server via the Internet. All communication between the client terminal and the Web server is routed through the intermediate server. The client server logs on to the intermediate server via a virtual browser in order to connect to a Web page. The intermediate server includes databases for storing profiles, such as bookmarks, cookies, historical data files, associated with a user of the client terminal, for monitoring and storing information regarding transactions between the user and visited Web pages. However, this system does not store session information .as such. Thus, when a user logs off the system, the session is terminated. This means that it is not possible to transfer an ongoing Web session from one terminal to another, or to put a session on hold and later continue the session.

Brief description of the drawings

The invention will now be described in detail in reference to the appended drawings, in which:

Fig.l shows an overview of a system for providing Virtual Terminal data services (prior art) ,

Fig. 2 shows the basic architecture of the invention, Fig. 3 is an example of a Web Session Transfer service login page,

Fig. 4 shows the personal Web Session Transfer Homepage of user Erik Vanem,

Fig. 5 is a page showing the Virtual Browser within the browser,

Fig. 6 shows a Web Session Transfer service as a proxy in web sessions,

Fig. 7 shows how html documents are modified,

Fig. 8 is a diagram showing the registration of Web Session Transfer users and user profiles,

Fig. 9 shows how history is saved and session states are updated in the history,

Fig. 10 shows how URIs are saved in favourites (part of the user profile) ,

Fig. 11 shows the storing of cookies in the Web Session Transfer session.

Fig. 12 shows how a Web session is transferred with the Web Session Transfer service,

Fig. 13 shows how the Web can be browsed from a borrowed terminal,

Fig. 14 shows the transfer of a Web session from a PC to a laptop.

Detailed description of the invention

This invention consists of: • The overall architecture that makes transfer of Web sessions possible.

• An application that redirects requests and responses between the client terminal and the web servers on the Internet monitors the web sessions. and stores session data such as favourite URIs, cookies, history etc. in the database - the Virtual Browser.

The basic architecture

The basic architecture that enables transfer of Web ses- sions is illustrated in Fig. 2.

The invention will reside in a server on an IP-based network connected to and accessible from the Internet. It will serve as a kind of proxy for the user's web sessions and all web traffic will be routed via this server.

The Web session transfer server (WST) will contain the following functionality:

o A web server that allows users to log into the server and operate it.

• A database containing profiles with personal data and information for every user.

• An application that redirects requests and responses between the client terminal and the web servers on the Internet, monitors the web sessions, stores session data such as favourite URIs, cookies, history etc. in the database among other things. This will be a virtual browser that browses the Internet on behalf of the user and displays the results on any screen. This application will also edit the html document received from the Web servers before sending it to the client terminal, i.e. by changing the link-URIs. • An administration interface that allows the service providers to create and remove users to and from the system.

The Web Session Transfer server

The web server will host a WST service homepage that the users can access from anywhere via the Internet. From this homepage the users can log in to the system and continue browsing the Web with the Web session transfer service. This Web server should also contain sufficient authentica- tion, authorization and accounting mechanisms to ensure that only the subscribers to the service has access to it and that the personal data stored in the system can only be accessed by the users, that owns it. An example log in page is illustrated in Fig. 3.

When the user logs into the system, the user should be able to choose from different active Web sessions, which one to resume or to start a new Web session. A list of the user's active sessions should appear as links, and by clicking one of these, the session should be resumed where it was ended the last time. If the user prefers to start a new Web session, he should also be able to choose this. This is illustrated in the example personal Web Session Transfer homepage in Fig. 4. Anyhow a session is started or resumed; a browser window will appear within the browser on the termi- nal screen. This browser within the browser will contain a frame with a new set of buttons offering the WST functionality. There will be a new address field, new back and forward buttons, new favourites and history buttons and other extra functionality. This is illustrated in Fig. 5.

When the user wants to finish browsing, he should be able to put the session on hold, e.g. to include it in the list of active sessions he can choose from the next time he logs on or to remove the session completely. In both cases the URIs visited during the session will be stored in the his- tory of the user, and favourites saved during the sessions will be kept. In the first case, however, the state of the session will also be kept, while the second option will delete all other references to this particular session.

In principle, there are no restrictions to what functionality that can be included in the Virtual Browser, and all data or information the user might need in his web sessions can be accessible in this way from the Web Session Transfer service. Every user logs into a different account, and will only get access to their own personal data.

In this way, every logic and operations performed related to an active web session will be carried out at the web session transfer server in the network, and the only thing the client terminal needs to do is to present the screen display to the user in any kind of browser, Internet explorer, Netscape, opera etc. This is illustrated in Fig. 6.

1. The user will enter the target address, e.g. www.google.com, in the Virtual Browser address bar. This will be sent as a request including the target address to the Web Session Transfer service (www. wsts . com) , i.e. it will be sent as http: //www. wsts . com?target__URI=http: //www. google.com.

2. When the Web Session Transfer service receives this request, it extracts the target address, e.g. www.google.com, and translates it into a new request to this address.

3. The Web Session Transfer service will send this request to the target address.

4. The target Web server will send a response including the desired html page back to the Web Session Transfer service . 5. The Web Session Transfer server will edit and examine the html document received from the Web server. It will add the Virtual Browser functionality in a frame and edit the links contained in the document. The URIs of the links in the original document will be changed from "http://www.link.com" to

"http: //www. wsts . com?target_URI=http: //www. link. com" . I.e. substituting the original URI with the URI of the Web Session Transfer server and with the original URI . as parameter.

6. The Web Session Transfer service will send a response to the original request to the client terminal. The result will be displayed as the target html page (coloured white in the figure) within the Virtual Browser (shaded) within any browser (shown in the frame) used at that terminal, as illustrated in Fig. 5.

In step one above, instead of entering the target address in the address field, the user can use the URIs saved as favourites or history in the original request.

With this service, the html page received by the Web Session Transfer server from the Web server will be edited before it is forwarded to the user. This is illustrated in Fig. 7.

The Web Session Transfer user profile

The database should contain one user profile for each user of the system as illustrated in Fig. 8.

Each Web Session Transfer user profile will contain different parts where different types of information are stored: Favourites, history, cookies and user information such as name, address, preferences, address list, calendar etc. Each time the user is submitting a new request to the Web Session Transfer server, the URI of this request will be stored in the history of that user in the database. The sessions will also be monitored at the server, so that it always knows the states of each session, i.e. it knows the previous visited pages so that the Virtual Browser's "back" and "forward" functions can be used in the sessions. This is illustrated in Fig. 9. The user can also use the service to keep statistics of his web session usage if desired.

Likewise, favourites are saved in the user profile in the database by sending requests from the client terminal to the WST server with these instructions, as illustrated in Fig. 10.

In addition to storing favourites and history and keeping track of the states of the different sessions, the WST server can contain all kind of data the user might think useful. Cookies for example, can be stored in the WST server if the user allows it. The cookie information can then be used in the Web sessions without having to be saved locally on the client terminal. They can thus be utilized also when browsing from other client terminals that the one used to contact the associated Web server the first time. In principle, there are no limits to what kind of information that can be stored in the WST server and it is more a question of what is preferable and meaningful to the user. Fig. 11 illustrates how cookies are used with the WST ser- vice.

The Web Session Transfer application

The application itself will perform the following tasks:

1. It receives requests from the user via the client terminal he is currently using.

2. It interprets the request from the user and performs a task according to it. The different tasks can be: a. Starting a new Web session

b. Resuming an active Web session

c. Conclude an existing Web session and save it as an active session for future use

d. Delete and remove an active session

e. Forward a request of a new URI to a new Web server on the Internet.

f . Forward a request to a previously known URI stored in the favourites or history. If cookies are associated with this URI they are to be attached to the request.

g. Store data and information in the user profile of the user in the database. Such data can be favourites, history, various preferences etc.

3. During Web sessions, it performs tasks on its own, such as monitoring the sessions and storing session states .

4. It receives responses back from the Web servers.

5. If the responses include cookies, these are stored within the user' s profile in the database for future use.

6. It adds the Virtual Browser frame that contains the Web Session Transfer service functionality to the html document received from the Web Server.

7. It edits the links contained in the received html document. If the user uses these links, he will still receive the results associated with the original URI, but the request will be sent via the Web Session Transfer server.

8. It forwards the responses to the user's current client terminal and displays it within the Virtual Browser on 5 a standard browser on the client.

With these functionalities, the service will enable the user to transfer a Web session and to resume a session that is started on one terminal on another terminal without loosing any information.

o The administration interface should allow the service provider to administer the service. Most importantly, it will be possible to adding new users to the service by creating new accounts with username and password. It should also be possible to remove users and to suspend users temporarily s from using the service. In addition, the administration interface should allow the administrator to see the amount of the service usage of specific users if this is needed for billing purposes etc.

Use Scenarios

0 The invention will introduce a wide range of usage scenarios related to Web session. In the following, some examples of such use scenarios are given.

Accessing the same information from multiple devices

Nowadays, many users have numerous different devices from 5 which the can browse the Internet. A typical example will be a user that has a stationary workstation at his desk in office, a personal computer at home, a laptop to use while travelling and a PDA. With the Web Session Transfer service, the user will have access to the same Web session re- o lated information and data regardless of which of his many, devices he chooses to use. When editing profiles, adding information etc. it will also be sufficient to do this once, and it will not matter from which device this task is done. This will without doubt be a great advantage to the user.

Browsing the Web from a borrowed terminal

Consider the following scenario: A Virtual Browser subscriber is travelling and needs some crucial information he usually finds on the Internet. He has previously spent a lot of time and performed a thoroughly search for this in- formation over the whole Internet from his home PC. After carefully inspecting the results, he has saved the URIs of the most relevant sites in his favourites. He does not remember the URI where this information is located, but he has saved it in his favourites from his home PC. With a subscription to the Web Session Transfer service, he can borrow any kind of terminal at the visited location and log into his personal account. All the favourites he has stored from his home PC will then be available to him, and most importantly, he will be able to find the crucial informa- tion that he was looking for without having to go through the cumbersome searching process again.

Later in the Web session, he stumbles over some new valuable information that he will need to look more deeply into when he gets back home. He can then save this information in his favourites from the borrowed terminal, and it will be available to him from his home PC after returning home.

While the Web session is in progress, the user decides that he wants to check his credit card balance on the online bank of the credit card provider for the credit card he is using on the trip. Among all the different usernames, PIN- codes and password he always has to remember, these user name and password are forgotten. But they are previously saved and kept by the Web Session Transfer service, and as soon as he enters the online bank web site, the service will suggest the right ones. He can then check his balance without being at his desk where he has this written down somewhere. All that is really crucial to remember is his Web Session Transfer service username and password so that it can authenticate and authorize him to use the data stored herein. The URI of the online bank is off course also saved in favourites.

Fig. 13 illustrates this use scenario, where the user is travelling and borrowing a terminal in a Web session at the visited location. His PC at home is turned off and not connected to the Internet, but the user will still have access to all data stored in the Web Session Transfer server in the network.

Transferring a Web session from a stationary to a mobile terminal

Consider the scenario where a Web Session Transfer service subscriber is browsing the Internet with a Virtual Browser from his stationary PC at his office when the end of the day is approaching. It is getting time to leave the office to catch the train back home, but he is very reluctant to stop his Web session at that moment. He has just discovering some important data on a few different Web sites that needs to be analysed, and he is going back and forth between these sites. The user also has a laptop at his dis- posal that he will take with him home.

Before leaving the office, the user is shutting down his Virtual Browser and thus saving the active session in the Web Session Transfer service. He starts up his laptop while shutting down the stationary PC. While leaving the office he starts a browser in the laptop, logs in to the Web Session Transfer service and chooses to resume the session he just operated from his PC. He will then jump into the session just as it was left on his PC in the office, with all the states saved. He will therefore be able to use the' "back" an "forward" buttons in the Virtual Browser to navigate between the interesting sites, just as if he had still been sitting in his office. However, when continuing the session on the laptop, he catches his train and will be 5 in time for his next appointment.

This scenario is illustrated in Fig. 14. The scenario would not be any different if the mobile device was a PDA instead of a laptop, and the user would still be able to transfer the session and continue it on the train.

o Continuing an old Web session

If someone wants to continue an old Web session, the Web Session Transfer service will allow this. For example, a specific Web session will be relevant in specific roles or circumstances. Let us consider the following scenario: A s customer of the Web Session Transfer service lives in Norway and has a brother that lives in USA. Once in awhile, the user would like to visit his brother, and in preparing the trip, he uses the Internet to find useful information about the place. Local newspapers, maps, train timetables, o local attractions and businesses are examples of such information. The first time ha searches for this information he will spend some time and find a lot of useful information. The session that leads to these findings can be saved as an active session in the Web Session Transfer service 5 and resumed at any later time. In this way, the next time this particular information is needed, i.e. the next time the user wants to visit his brother, the session can be resumed as it was never even interrupted, even if it has been months since the Web sites was last visited by the user.

o Other sessions that are relevant in other specific situations can be saved likewise with different names within the Web Session Transfer service. They can thus easily be resumed when that particular information is needed again in similar situations. Replacing old user equipment

Another situation where " it will be very useful to have this service is when replacing old equipment with new one. Many users have high demands on their personal computer and other communication terminals and upgrade their equipment regularly.

When upgrading for example the PC with a new one, it will be very valuable to have the Web Session Transfer service, and the change of PC will not cause Web session information like favourites etc. to get lost. Neither is the user required to perform any tasks to keep it and to transfer the data over to the new PC.

Claims

C l a i m s
1. A system for transferring Web sessions, including: a Web session transfer service server on an IP-based network connected to and accessible from the Internet, a database containing profiles with personal data and information for every user using the system, a virtual browser installed on said server, said virtual browser being arranged to browse the Internet on behalf of a user the user browsing the Internet through said virtual browser in at least one Web session, said server being arranged to monitor web sessions and store favourites, cookies and history for each web session in said database, said server being arranged to store the state of each Web session, enabling a Web session to be suspended and later resumed from a client terminal on which the Web session was initiated, or on another client terminal.
2. A system as claimed in claim 1, said server being arranged to change link-URIs in documents received from Web servers before sending them to a client terminal .
3. A system as claimed in claim 1, said server including an administration interface.
4. A method for conducting web sessions on the Internet from a client terminal, the method including: starting at least one Web session in a virtual browser on a Web session transfer service server, c h a r a c h t e r i z e d i n storing information regarding the state of the Web session (s) in a database, to suspend a Web session running on said virtual browser, and later resume the Web session from a client terminal on which it was initiated, or on another client terminal.
5. A method as claimed in claim 4, c h a r a c h t e r i z e d i n the additional step of changing link-URIs in documents received from web servers before sending them to the client terminal.
6. A method as claimed in claim 4, c h a r a c h t e r i z e d i n the additional step of storing favourites, cookies and history for said web session in said database.
7. A method as claimed in claim 4, c h a r a c h t e r i z e d i n that before approaching said web session transfer service server, a user must logon to said server, said server performing authentication and authorisation of said user, and collects accounting information for the session.
PCT/NO2004/000101 2003-04-04 2004-04-05 A system for transferring web sessions, and a method for conducting web sessions on the internet WO2004088543A1 (en)

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