WO2013023351A1 - Method and apparatus for providing location-based message distribution - Google Patents

Method and apparatus for providing location-based message distribution Download PDF

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Publication number
WO2013023351A1
WO2013023351A1 PCT/CN2011/078400 CN2011078400W WO2013023351A1 WO 2013023351 A1 WO2013023351 A1 WO 2013023351A1 CN 2011078400 W CN2011078400 W CN 2011078400W WO 2013023351 A1 WO2013023351 A1 WO 2013023351A1
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WIPO (PCT)
Prior art keywords
message
part
combination
information
originating
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PCT/CN2011/078400
Other languages
French (fr)
Inventor
Lik Hang CHOW
Shen Li
Jiang Li
Original Assignee
Nokia Corporation
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Publication date
Application filed by Nokia Corporation filed Critical Nokia Corporation
Priority to PCT/CN2011/078400 priority Critical patent/WO2013023351A1/en
Publication of WO2013023351A1 publication Critical patent/WO2013023351A1/en

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Classifications

    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04LTRANSMISSION OF DIGITAL INFORMATION, e.g. TELEGRAPHIC COMMUNICATION
    • H04L51/00Arrangements for user-to-user messaging in packet-switching networks, e.g. e-mail or instant messages
    • H04L51/20Messaging using geographical location information

Abstract

An approach is provided for location-based message distribution. A message distribution platform causes, at least in part, an association of a first copy of a message with an originating location. The message distribution platform also causes, at least in part, a storage of a second copy of the message in an originating device. The message distribution platform then causes, at least in part, a distribution of the first copy, the second copy, or a combination thereof to at least one receiving device based, at least in part, on when the at least one receiving device is within proximity of the originating location, the originating device, or a combination thereof.

Description

METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR

PROVIDING LOCATION-BASED MESSAGE DISTRIBUTION

BACKGROUND

[0001] Service providers (e.g., wireless, cellular, Internet, content, social network, etc.) and device manufacturers are continually challenged to deliver value and convenience to customers by, for example, providing compelling network services and advancing the underlying technologies. One growing area of interest has been development of social location-based services (e.g., for sharing messages, comments, information, etc.), which has resulted in a growing number of such services and related applications. As a result, service providers and device manufacturers face significant technical challenges to enabling innovative and user friendly means for interacting and sharing information (e.g., messages) within social location- based services. Such means can, for example, lead to greater consumer use and adoption of corresponding services.

SOME EXAMPLE EMBODIMENTS

[0002] Therefore, there is a need for an approach for providing location-based message distribution.

[0003] According to one embodiment, a method comprises causing, at least in part, an association of a first copy of a message with an originating location. The method also comprises causing, at least in part, a storage of a second copy of the message in an originating device. The method further comprises causing, at least in part, a distribution of the first copy, the second copy, or a combination thereof to at least one receiving device based, at least in part, on when the at least one receiving device is within proximity of the originating location, the originating device, or a combination thereof. In some embodiments, the method further comprises processing and/or facilitating a processing of context information associated with the originating location, the originating device, the at least one receiving device, or a combination thereof to determine one or more metrics associated with a quality, a distribution, or a combination thereof of the message. [0004] According to another embodiment, an apparatus comprising at least one processor, and at least one memory including computer program code for one or more programs, the at least one memory and the computer program code configured to, with the at least one processor, cause the apparatus to determine to associate a first copy of a message with an originating location. The apparatus is also caused to determine to store a second copy of the message in an originating device. The apparatus is further caused to determine to distribute the first copy, the second copy, or a combination thereof to at least one receiving device based, at least in part, on when the at least one receiving device is within proximity of the originating location, the originating device, or a combination thereof. In some embodiments, the apparatus is further caused to process and/or facilitate a processing of context information associated with the originating location, the originating device, the at least one receiving device, or a combination thereof to determine one or more metrics associated with a quality, a distribution, or a combination thereof of the message.

[0005] According to another embodiment, a computer-readable storage medium carrying one or more sequences of one or more instructions which, when executed by one or more processors, cause the apparatus to determine to associate a first copy of a message with an originating location. The apparatus is also caused to determine to store a second copy of the message in an originating device. The apparatus is further caused to determine to distribute the first copy, the second copy, or a combination thereof to at least one receiving device based, at least in part, on when the at least one receiving device is within proximity of the originating location, the originating device, or a combination thereof. In some embodiments, the apparatus is further caused to process and/or facilitate a processing of context information associated with the originating location, the originating device, the at least one receiving device, or a combination thereof to determine one or more metrics associated with a quality, a distribution, or a combination thereof of the message.

[0006] According to another embodiment, an apparatus comprises means for causing, at least in part, an association of a first copy of a message with an originating location. The apparatus also comprises means for causing, at least in part, a storage of a second copy of the message in an originating device. The apparatus further comprises means for causing, at least in part, a distribution of the first copy, the second copy, or a combination thereof to at least one receiving device based, at least in part, on when the at least one receiving device is within proximity of the originating location, the originating device, or a combination thereof. In some embodiments, the apparatus further comprises means for processing and/or facilitating a processing of context information associated with the originating location, the originating device, the at least one receiving device, or a combination thereof to determine one or more metrics associated with a quality, a distribution, or a combination thereof of the message.

[0007] In addition, for various example embodiments of the invention, the following is applicable: a method comprising facilitating a processing of and/or processing (1) data and/or (2) information and/or (3) at least one signal, the (1) data and/or (2) information and/or (3) at least one signal based, at least in part, on (including derived at least in part from) any one or any combination of methods (or processes) disclosed in this application as relevant to any embodiment of the invention.

[0008] For various example embodiments of the invention, the following is also applicable: a method comprising facilitating access to at least one interface configured to allow access to at least one service, the at least one service configured to perform any one or any combination of network or service provider methods (or processes) disclosed in this application.

[0009] For various example embodiments of the invention, the following is also applicable: a method comprising facilitating creating and/or facilitating modifying (1) at least one device user interface element and/or (2) at least one device user interface functionality, the (1 ) at least one device user interface element and/or (2) at least one device user interface functionality based, at least in part, on data and/or information resulting from one or any combination of methods or processes disclosed in this application as relevant to any embodiment of the invention, and/or at least one signal resulting from one or any combination of methods (or processes) disclosed in this application as relevant to any embodiment of the invention.

[0010] For various example embodiments of the invention, the following is also applicable: a method comprising creating and/or modifying (1) at least one device user interface element and/or (2) at least one device user interface functionality, the (1) at least one device user interface element and/or (2) at least one device user interface functionality based at least in part on data and/or information resulting from one or any combination of methods (or processes) disclosed in this application as relevant to any embodiment of the invention, and/or at least one signal resulting from one or any combination of methods (or processes) disclosed in this application as relevant to any embodiment of the invention.

[0011] In various example embodiments, the methods (or processes) can be accomplished on the service provider side or on the mobile device side or in any shared way between service provider and mobile device with actions being performed on both sides.

[0012] For various example embodiments, the following is applicable: An apparatus comprising means for performing the method of any of originally filed claims 1 -42 and 69-71.

[0013] Still other aspects, features, and advantages of the invention are readily apparent from the following detailed description, simply by illustrating a number of particular embodiments and implementations, including the best mode contemplated for carrying out the invention. The invention is also capable of other and different embodiments, and its several details can be modified in various obvious respects, all without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention. Accordingly, the drawings and description are to be regarded as illustrative in nature, and not as restrictive. BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0014] The embodiments of the invention are illustrated by way of example, and not by way of limitation, in the figures of the accompanying drawings:

[0015] FIG. 1 is a diagram of a system capable of providing location-based message distribution, according to one embodiment; [0016] FIG. 2 is a diagram of the components of a message distribution platform or application, according to one embodiment;

[0017] FIG. 3 is a flowchart of a process for providing location-based message distribution, according to one embodiment;

[0018] FIG. 4 is a flowchart of a process for determining and visualizing metrics for location-based message distribution, according to one embodiment;

[0019] FIG. 5 is a flowchart of a process for generating and updating metadata associated with location-based message distribution, according to one embodiment; [0020] FIGs. 6A-6F are diagrams depicting sample use cases for providing location-based message distribution, according to various embodiments;

[0021] FIGs. 7A-7E are diagrams of user interfaces utilized in the processes of FIGs. 1 -5, according to various embodiments; [0022] FIG. 8A is a diagram of the components of a wireless node including an awareness services module for message distribution, according to one embodiment;

[0023] FIGs. 8B-8E are diagrams of the components of an awareness services module, according to various embodiments;

[0024] FIG. 9 is a diagram of hardware that can be used to implement an embodiment of the invention;

[0025] FIG. 10 is a diagram of a chip set that can be used to implement an embodiment of the invention; and

[0026] FIG. 1 1 is a diagram of a mobile terminal (e.g., handset) that can be used to implement an embodiment of the invention. DESCRIPTION OF SOME EMBODIMENTS

[0027] Examples of a method, apparatus, and computer program for providing location- based message distribution are disclosed. In the following description, for the purposes of explanation, numerous specific details are set forth in order to provide a thorough understanding of the embodiments of the invention. It is apparent, however, to one skilled in the art that the embodiments of the invention may be practiced without these specific details or with an equivalent arrangement. In other instances, well-known structures and devices are shown in block diagram form in order to avoid unnecessarily obscuring the embodiments of the invention.

[0028] FIG. 1 is a diagram of a system capable of providing location-based message distribution, according to one embodiment. As discussed above, the use of social networking services (e.g., particularly messaging related services) has grown extraordinarily. Consumers, for instance, not only want to share information online, but also want to leave their friends, contacts, and even complete strangers messages and/or other content that they have experienced at a place or location (e.g., tourist attractions, restaurants, etc). However, traditional location- based messaging services can be cumbersome to use, thereby making it difficult to users to quickly create, discover, and/or share messages.

[0029] To address this problem, a system 100 of FIG. 1 introduces the capability to provide location-based message distribution that emulates natural human communication processes such as gossiping. More specifically, various embodiments of the approach described herein enable a user or a user device to create messages (e.g., rich messages containing captured images, videos, etc.), associate them with an originating location, and then carry the message away from the originating location via the user device so that the user can share the messages with other nearby users or devices. In one embodiment, the messages metaphorically can be thought of as items that can be carried in a user device storage memory (e.g., a "message bag") that can be distributed to other users over a communication network (e.g., a client-server based communication network, a peer-to-peer communication network, or a combination thereof). In addition, copies of the messages can be "pinned" or otherwise associated with their respective originating locations. In this way, other users or devices that are within a predetermined proximity of the originating locations and/or carrying devices can discover and retrieve the messages.

[0030] In one embodiment, the system 100 provides for a high-level user facing service design that provides for location-based message creation/discovery, distribution schemes, message quality metrics, distribution quality metrics, user achievement metrics, and user interfaces for presenting messages and related information. For example, in one embodiment, the system 100 enables a user to discover and view brief descriptions of nearby messages. The messages can be, for instance, created or carried by the respective carrying devices. In one embodiment, created messages are captured or generated by the carrying device, and carried messages refer to messages that have been created by others but have been stored by the carrying device. Moreover, the messages can be discovered from nearby carrying devices or from servers or other stations (e.g., a kiosk, a stationary device, etc.) that are associated with a particular location.

[0031] Next, the user can select one or more messages from among the discovered messages to view and/or carry the message in their device (e.g., via the device's virtual message bag) based, at least in part, on the user's interest at the moment. It is contemplated that the selection process can vary depending on the user's interest so that the user's decision to carry a message can be different at different time instances. For example, the specific messages selected and/or carried by the user can depend on the current user interest, current quality of the message (e.g., number of carriers or carrying devices, distance traveled from the originating location, etc.), relative interest or popularity of a discovered message in comparison to previously stored or discovered messages, and the like. In addition, it is contemplated that a message that was ignored previously by the user may interest the same user at a later time.

[0032] In one embodiment, the system 100 enables retrieval or distribution of discovered messages via a push and/or a pull mechanism. For example, a pull mechanism enables the user manually decide which specific messages to retrieve and store. Whereas, a push mechanism enables to system 100 to automatically push discovered messages (e.g., messages that meet predetermined criteria) to the user's device or message bag. In embodiments using the pull mechanism, the system 100 provides for greater user control over what messages are delivered and/or stored at the user's devices.

[0033] In one embodiment, all or a portion of the copies of a message stored across the various carrying devices can be referenced to a single master message (e.g., stored in a backend server or other centrally accessible device or node). In this way, users can, for instance, leave commenting information (e.g., user comments) on the message following common threads that would be available to all devices. In one embodiment, the commenting information can be collected at the master message, the copies of the message, or a combination thereof for updating and synchronizing across at least a portion of the synchronizing devices.

[0034] In another embodiment, the system 100 provides for one or more metrics for describing the quality (e.g., popularity) and/or distribution of the messages. For example, the system 100 can determine standard metrics such as the number of views, number of likes, etc. In addition, the system 100 can also determine metrics for the "number of carriers or carrying devices," "message traveled distance" (e.g., total distance a message has been carried by one or more devices), "message spreading radius" (e.g., the furthest extent or geographic boundary over which a message has traveled), "message spreading speed" (e.g., total distance a message has traveled over a given period of time such as the last hour, day, etc.), and the like to indicate the quality of a message, which can reflect the geographic distribution properties of a message. In one embodiment, the system 100 can display the metrics to the message creator and/or carrier to act as, for instance, an achievement level indication of the message. In another embodiment, the metrics can also be shown to other users during message discovery to act as referencing information in selecting which messages to view and/or carry.

[0035] Another example metric includes "number of carries from me," which applies to both messages created by a user and messages created by others and carried by the user. By way of example, this metric acts as an achievement indicator for the user's carrying behavior. In other words, the metric counts how many other users carried a message from the user's bag or device. This metric, for instance, serves as an indication of how good is the choice the user made in carrying a particular message. For example, in order to increase the "number of carries from me" metric, a user would need to select messages to carry that would be of interest to other users, and/or travel to more physical locations so as to increase the chance of encountering and then distributing the message to other users.

[0036] In some embodiments, the system 100 can limit the size of the device storage or message bag so as to encourage users to select good messages to carry and remove less interesting messages (e.g., when the carrying capacity is reached). For example, the system 100 may limit the number of messages that any user can carry to 10 messages. Accordingly, the user will have be selectively in which messages are carried because the limit will affect the messages that can be discovered by other users in the system 100. For example, by enforcing capacity limitations, the messages in the system 100 will have an automatic filtering based on the interests of users in the system 100 (e.g., assuming that users will only keep the top messages of most interest), In this way, message that interest more users will be carried by more users and distributed over a greater geographic area while less interested messages will fade out.

[0037] In one embodiment, the system 100 can determine the limitation on the message storage capacity based on the metrics or achievements associated with a user. For example, if the user's messages are popular (e.g., carried by many devices) or travel/spread over great distances, the system 100 may increase the size of the message storage capacity accordingly. In some embodiments, the message storage size may be increased based on account status (e.g., purchase of premium services or additional capacity). In another embodiment, the message discovery distance or radius for device may also be limited and/or determined in similar fashion.

[0038] In one embodiment, the system 100 may elect to not set a specific limit on the spreading radius or life span of a particular message. Instead, the life span of a message can be determined based on the interest and spreading levels caused by the users' select-to-carry decision. For example, when the interest level of a message decreases (compared to other messages in the system 100) and no more (or a minimum threshold of carrying users) carry the message, the system 100 can automatically remove or delete the message (including the copy of the message pinned to or associated with the originating location). For example, when a message is created, the system 100 will make copies of the message with one copy pinned virtually to the originating location and another copy carried by the originating device (e.g., message creator). In this way, when a user discover nearby messages, the user can find messages that are created at a nearby location even when the originating device has moved from the originating location. In some embodiments, the number of active messages in the system 100 can be bounded.

[0039] In another embodiment, the system 100 may determine the proximity of a receiving device to one or more messages via a proxy device. In this way, the receiving device need not be physically located near the messages' originating locations or carrying devices. Instead, the system 100 need only determine that they proxy device is near the messages of interest. In some embodiments, the system 100 may select the proxy device based on a social networking relationship with the receiving device. For example, receiving devices can be "virtually present" at a location if any social networking friends' devices are located nearby. In one embodiment, the proxy device need not have a social network relationship provided that the receiving device has appropriate access rights to use the proxy device.

[0040] As shown in FIG. 1, the system 100 comprises user equipment (UEs) lOla-lOln (also collectively referred to as UEs 101) having connectivity to a message distribution platform 103 over a communication network 105. The UEs 101 also include, at least in part, respective message distribution applications 107a-107n (also collectively referred to as message distribution applications 107) and message databases 109a- 109n (also collectively referred to as message databases 109). In one embodiment, the message distribution platform 103 and the message distribution applications 107, individually or in combination, perform one or more processes for providing location-based message distribution as described herein. By way of example, the messages and/or rich content (e.g., images, videos, audio, etc.) included in the messages can be stored in the local message databases 109a-109n (also collectively referred to as message databases 109) and/or the network message database 1 11. In one embodiment, the message data and included content can be provided by the service platform 113, the services 1 15a-115m (also collectively referred to as services 1 15) within the service platform 113, and/or the content providers 1 17a-l 17k (also collectively referred to as content providers 1 17). For example, the service platform 113 and/or the service 1 15 may obtain message data or content from the content providers 1 17 for delivery to the UEs 101 for processing by the message distribution platform 103 and/or the message distribution applications 107. Each of the services 115a-1 15m, for instance, may provide different content and/or different types of applications or services (e.g., a social networking service, a messaging service or a music service). It is also contemplated that the message data and/or content may be captured, provided, and/oor otherwise obtained locally at the respective UEs 101. The message distribution platform 103 and/or the message distribution applications 107 may then process the messages for distribution over the communication network 105.

[0041] In one embodiment, distribution over the communication network 105 can occur via a server-based system whereby the message distribution platform 103 processes, stores, and distributes location-based messages via one or more network message databases (e.g., the message database 11 1). In this embodiment, messages created and/or carried by the UEs 101 can be discovered from either the network message database 1 1 1 or from nearby devices. A server-based approach enables the server to maintain the association of a message with an originating location even when the originating device has moved to a different area. For example, the message distribution platform 103 can determine the location of a UE 101 and compare the location to the originating location of a message to determine whether the message is discoverable by the UE 101.

[0042] In addition or alternatively, the system 100 may provide for peer-to-peer distribution of messages using, for instance, direct peer-to-peer connections via short-range wireless protocols (e.g., WiFi, Bluetooth, ad hoc mesh networks - see e.g., description of the ad hoc mesh network of FIGs. 8A-8F, etc.). In this embodiment, the UEs 101 participating in a message change typically have to be within the range of the short-range wireless protocol to exchange messages. It is also contemplated that the message discovery or exchange radius can be determined or set by the system 100. In addition, peer-to-peer exchanges do not need the additional communication infrastructure needed to support server-based approaches, thereby reducing potential costs and complexity of the system 100.

[0043] In one embodiment, the UEs 101 include or have connectivity to any number of sensors for determining contextual information (e.g., a location, a time, an activity, etc.) that can be processed to support distribution of location-based messages as described in the various embodiments. The sensors include, for instance, location sensors (e.g., GPS, radio triangulation, etc.), magnetometers, accelerometers, gyroscopes, light meters, cameras, microphones, and the like. In addition or alternatively, contextual information can also be provided to the UEs 101 by the service platform 113 and/or the services 1 15 (e.g., location-based services, weather services, personal information management services, etc.). In this way, the UEs 101 need not include sensors, but instead may obtain relevant contextual information over the communication network 105.

[0044] By way of example, the communication network 105 of system 100 includes one or more networks such as a data network (not shown), a wireless network (not shown), a telephony network (not shown), or any combination thereof. It is contemplated that the data network may be any local area network (LAN), metropolitan area network (MAN), wide area network (WAN), a public data network (e.g., the Internet), short range wireless network, or any other suitable packet-switched network, such as a commercially owned, proprietary packet-switched network, e.g., a proprietary cable or fiber-optic network, and the like, or any combination thereof. In addition, the wireless network may be, for example, a cellular network and may employ various technologies including enhanced data rates for global evolution (EDGE), general packet radio service (GPRS), global system for mobile communications (GSM), Internet protocol multimedia subsystem (IMS), universal mobile telecommunications system (UMTS), etc., as well as any other suitable wireless medium, e.g., worldwide interoperability for microwave access (WiMAX), Long Term Evolution (LTE) networks, code division multiple access (CDMA), wideband code division multiple access (WCDMA), wireless fidelity (WiFi), wireless LAN (WLAN), Bluetooth®, Internet Protocol (IP) data casting, satellite, mobile ad-hoc network (MANET), and the like, or any combination thereof.

[0045] The UE 101 is any type of mobile terminal, fixed terminal, or portable terminal including a mobile handset, station, unit, device, multimedia computer, multimedia tablet, Internet node, communicator, desktop computer, laptop computer, notebook computer, netbook computer, tablet computer, personal communication system (PCS) device, personal navigation device, personal digital assistants (PDAs), audio/video player, digital camera/camcorder, positioning device, television receiver, radio broadcast receiver, electronic book device, game device, or any combination thereof, including the accessories and peripherals of these devices, or any combination thereof. It is also contemplated that the UE 101 can support any type of interface to the user (such as "wearable" circuitry, etc.).

[0046] By way of example, the UE 101 , the message distribution platform 103, the message distribution applications 107, the service platform 1 13, the services 1 15, and the content providers 1 17 communicate with each other and other components of the communication network 105 using well known, new or still developing protocols. In this context, a protocol includes a set of rules defining how the network nodes within the communication network 105 interact with each other based on information sent over the communication links. The protocols are effective at different layers of operation within each node, from generating and receiving physical signals of various types, to selecting a link for transferring those signals, to the format of information indicated by those signals, to identifying which software application executing on a computer system sends or receives the information. The conceptually different layers of protocols for exchanging information over a network are described in the Open Systems Interconnection (OSI) Reference Model.

[0047] Communications between the network nodes are typically effected by exchanging discrete packets of data. Each packet typically comprises (1) header information associated with a particular protocol, and (2) payload information that follows the header information and contains information that may be processed independently of that particular protocol. In some protocols, the packet includes (3) trailer information following the payload and indicating the end of the payload information. The header includes information such as the source of the packet, its destination, the length of the payload, and other properties us^ bv thp. nmtnrn Often, the data in the payload for the particular protocol includes a header and payload for a different protocol associated with a different, higher layer of the OSI Reference Model. The header for a particular protocol typically indicates a type for the next protocol contained in its payload. The higher layer protocol is said to be encapsulated in the lower layer protocol. The headers included in a packet traversing multiple heterogeneous networks, such as the Internet, typically include a physical (layer 1) header, a data-link (layer 2) header, an internetwork (layer 3) header and a transport (layer 4) header, and various application (layer 5, layer 6 and layer 7) headers as defined by the OSI Reference Model.

[0048] In one embodiment, the message distribution application 107 and the message distribution platform 103 may interact according to a client-server model. According to the client-server model, a client process sends a message including a request to a server process, and the server process responds by providing a service (e.g., providing map information). The server process may also return a message with a response to the client process. Often the client process and server process execute on different computer devices, called hosts, and communicate via a network using one or more protocols for network communications. The term "server" is conventionally used to refer to the process that provides the service, or the host computer on which the process operates. Similarly, the term "client" is conventionally used to refer to the process that makes the request, or the host computer on which the process operates. As used herein, the terms "client" and "server" refer to the processes, rather than the host computers, unless otherwise clear from the context. In addition, the process performed by a server can be broken up to run as multiple processes on multiple hosts (sometimes called tiers) for reasons that include reliability, scalability, and redundancy, among others.

[0049] FIG. 2 is a diagram of the components of a message distribution platform or application, according to one embodiment. By way of example, the message distribution platform 103 and/or the message distribution application 107 include one or more components for providing location-based message distribution. It is contemplated that the functions of these components may be combined in one or more components or performed by other components of equivalent functionality. In this embodiment, the message distribution platform 103 and/or the message distribution application 107 include a control logic 201, a message creation and discovery module 203, a metadata generator 205, a metrics and achievements module 207, a visualization module 209, and a message interface 21 1.

[0050] In addition, the message distribution platform 103 and/or message distribution application 107 have connectivity to one or more message databases 109 and/or the message database 1 1 1. As shown, the message databases 109/11 1 include a created messages storage 213 and a carried messages storage 215. In one embodiment, the created messages storage 213 provides storage for user created messages and associated content, and the carried messages storage 215 provides storage for messages created by other users that have been discovered and/or carried by the UE 101.

[0051] In one embodiment, the control logic 201 executes at least one algorithm for executing functions of the message distribution platform 103. For example, the control logic 201 may interact with the message creation and discovery module 203 to initiate creation of a location-based message for sharing via the platform 103. In one embodiment, the message can contain rich-media content (e.g., images, videos, audio, etc.) captured or otherwise specified by a user. In other words, a message can be any content of interest captured at by a user a particular location. For example, a user can capture a funny picture for inclusion in the message. The message creation and discovery module 203 can then associate the originating location of the message (e.g., location where the image was captured) with the message (e.g., as metadata via the metadata generator 205).

[0052] In one embodiment, the message creation and discovery module 203 creates at least two initial copies of the message. One copy of the message is pinned to the originating location and another copy is stored in the UE 101 (e.g., message database 109) associated with user creating the message. In either case, the message creation and discovery module 203 makes the message available for discovery by other nearby UEs 101. For example, if another UE 101 discovers the message in the message database 109 of the originating UE 101, then the discovering UE 101 can view the message. If the discovering user likes the message, the user can then retrieve and store the message on the discovering UE 101 via the message creation and discovery module 203. In this way, the message can be spread from UE 101 to UE 101, as each UE 101 moves from location to location. [0053] The message creation and discovery module 203 also enables the discovery of nearby message by processing context information (e.g., location information) associated with a discovering or receiving UE 101. For example, the context information can be used to determine when the receiving UE 101 is within proximity to an originating location or other carrier UEs 101. In one embodiment, the message creation and discovery module 203 can generate an alert or otherwise provide notice of the availability of one or more location-based messages. The user can then view and select one or more of the messages for retrieval to carry at the receiving UE 101.

[0054] In one embodiment, the message creation and discovery module 203 can interact with the metadata generator 205 to present additional information (e.g., metrics generated by the metrics and achievements module 207) to the user to facilitate selection of messages of interest. In one embodiment, the metadata generator 205 can process contextual information about the messages and/or the geographic distribution of the message to generate the metadata. In another embodiment, the metadata generator 205 can retrieve or determine commenting information associated with the message. For example, the commenting information may include real-time or substantially real-time comments provided by users with respect to the message. These comments may be organized as threads and then associated or referenced in the metadata associated with the message by the metadata generator 205. In some embodiments, the metadata generator 205 may facilitate the synchronization of the metadata (e.g., commenting information) across all or a portion of the copies of the messages within the system 100. By way of example, the synchronization may occur via server-based or peer-to- peer processes.

[0055] In some embodiments, the metadata generator 205 may also interact with the metrics and achievements module 207 to incorporate metrics associated with the quality (e.g., popularity) and/or extent of the geographic distribution of the message across the system 100. For example, the metrics and achievements module 207 can collect standard messaging metrics such as the number of views, the number of comments, etc. In addition, the metrics and achievements module 207 can calculate more specific metrics. For example, for message creators, the metrics and achievements module 207 may calculate metrics related to how many users carried the creator's message, the spreading radius of the creator's message, the total mileage or distance travel by carriers of the creator's message, and the like. Similarly, for message carriers, the metrics and achievements module 207 may calculate metrics related to how many users have carried messages contained in the carriers' message storage, how many carriers have directly retrieved messages from the carriers' message storage, what fraction of the carriers of a particular message is attributable to the individual message carrier, and the like.

[0056] In one embodiment, the metrics and achievements module 207 can track the metrics against predetermined goals or achievements. For example, the metrics and achievements module 207 can alert a user to when the user's message has traveled over a certain distance, has been carried by a certain number of UEs 101 , etc. It is contemplated that the metrics and achievements can be presented to users to encourage users to be more active users of the message distribution service. In another embodiment, the metrics and are achievements can be used to determine what if any limitations are placed on the user's message capabilities. For example, the system 100 may be configured to limit the device capacity for storing messages, the discovery radius of nearby messages, etc. The metrics and achievements module 207 can then use calculated metrics or achievements to either increase or decrease the limitations based, at least in part, on achievements attained. For example, if a user's messages are popular (e.g., carried by greater than a predetermined number of devices), then the user's message capacity and/or message discovery radius may be increased.

[0057] In one embodiment, the metrics and achievements module 207 may interact with one or more of the services 1 15 (e.g., social networking services) to report or otherwise output user metrics, achievements, or other system activities. For example, the metrics and achievements module 207 may request user credentials for accessing the services 1 15 and facilitate automated output of information.

[0058] As shown, the message distribution platform 103 also includes a visualization module 209 that can used to render a user interface to depict, for instance, the distribution of messages, paths traveled, associated metrics, available messages, related metadata, and/or the like. In one embodiment, the user interface may be provided as a map and can be specific to individual users, a group of users, all users, etc. [0059] In some embodiments, the message distribution platform 103 also includes a message interface 21 1 for interacting with the message databases 109 and/or 1 1 1. The message interface 21 1 can support, for instance, server-based and/or peer-to-peer based access to the message databases 109 and/or 1 1 1 using standard communication protocols. [0060] FIG. 3 is a flowchart of a process for providing location-based message distribution, according to one embodiment. In one embodiment, the message distribution platform 103 performs the process 300 of FIG. 3, and is implemented in, for instance, a chip set including a processor and a memory as shown in FIG. 10. In addition or alternatively, the message distribution application 107 may perform all or a portion of the process 300.

[0061] In step 301, the message distribution platform 103 causes, at least in part, an association of a first copy of a message with an originating location. As discussed above, in one embodiment, the message may include any content (e.g., images, videos, audio, etc.) captured by the user at a particular location. The message distribution platform 103 then causes, at least in part, a storage of a second copy of the message in an originating device or UE 101.

[0062] At step 305, the message distribution platform 103 determines the proximity of at least one receiving device or UE 101 to the originating location, the originating UE 101, or a combination thereof. In one embodiment, the message distribution platform 103 determines the the proximity of the at least one receiving device based, at least in part, on location information associated with one or more proxy devices. By way of example, the one or more proxy devices are associated with the at least one receiving device via at least one social network. In addition or alternatively, the proxy devices may be any device for which the receiving UEs 101 have appropriate access rights. In some embodiments, the ability to retrieve messages via proxy devices can be limited. For example, the message distribution platform 103 can limit use of proxy to one use per day or any other frequency. In other embodiments, the proxy devices may be used for promotional or other marketing purposes. For example, an advertiser may configure proxy devices to enable users to remotely access local deals or information from the advertiser.

[0063] Based, at least in part, on the determined proximity, the message distribution platform 103 causes, at least in part, a generation of one or more alerts regarding the message based, at least in part, the proximity of the at least one receiving device (step 307). In one embodiment, the one or more alerts relate to an availability of the message, the originating device, one or more other messages, one or more other originating devices, or a combination thereof.

[0064] The message distribution platform 103 then causes, at least in part, a distribution of the first copy of the message, the second copy of the message, or a combination thereof to at least one receiving device based, at least in part, on when the at least one receiving device is within proximity of the originating location, the originating device, or a combination thereof (step 309). As discussed previously, the distribution is via a peer-to-peer communication protocol, a client-server communication protocol, or a combination thereof.

[0065] In step 31 1 , the message distribution platform 103 determines to transmit the first copy, the second copy, or a combination thereof from the at least one receiving device to at least one other receiving device based, at least in part, on when the at least one other receiving device is within proximity of the at least one receiving device. In this way, the message distribution platform 103 can facilitate transfer of the messages from carrier (e.g., the receiving UE 101) to carrier.

[0066] In step 313, the message distribution platform 103 causes, at least in part, a deletion of the message when the number of carriers of the message is below a threshold value. In one embodiment, the threshold may be set to zero devices. In this case, when no devices (e.g., even the creating device) carries the message, the message may be deleted from the message distribution platform 103.

[0067] FIG. 4 is a flowchart of a process for determining and visualizing metrics for location-based message distribution, according to one embodiment. In one embodiment, the message distribution platform 103 performs the process 400 of FIG. 4, and is implemented in, for instance, a chip set including a processor and a memory as shown in FIG. 10. In addition or alternatively, the message distribution application 107 may perform all or a portion of the process 400. In one embodiment, the process 400 assumes that one or more messages have been created and/or distributed as described in the process 300 of FIG. 3.

[0068] In step 401, the message distribution platform 103 processes and/or facilitates a processing of context information associated with the originating location, the originating device, the at least one receiving device, or a combination thereof to determine one or more metrics associated with a quality, a distribution, or a combination thereof of the message.

[0069] For example, one or more of the metrics may relate to the geographic distribution of the message. In this case, the message distribution platform 103 processes and/or facilitate a processing of the context information to determine a geographic distribution of the message based, at least in part, on location information associated with originating location, the originating device, the at least one receiving device, or a combination thereof (step 403). The one or more metrics are then based, at least in part, on the geographic distribution.

[0070] In another embodiment, the one or more metrics may relate to a quality or popularity of the message. In this case, the message distribution platform 103 processes and/or facilitates a processing of the context information to determine a number of the at least one receiving device to which the message has been distributed (step 405). The the one or more metrics are based, at least in part, on the number.

[0071] In another embodiment, the one or more metrics relate to context information associated with other messages created or carried by a UE 101. Accordingly, in step 407, the message distribution platform 103 determines one or more other messages carried by the originating device, the at least one receiving device, or a combination thereof, wherein the one or more messages are associated with the originating location, one or more other originating locations, or a combination thereof. The message distribution platform 103 then processes and/or facilitates a processing of other context information associated with the one or more other messages to determine the one or more metrics.

[0072] In step 409, the message distribution platform 103 causes, at least in part, a rendering of a user interface to depict the geographic distribution, the one or more metrics, or a combination thereof. By way of example, the user interface depicts, at least in part, (a) one or more paths of the geographic distribution; (b) an extent of the geographic distribution; (c) one or more locations of the originating device, the at least one receiving device, or a combination thereof; (d) the originating location; or (e) a combination thereof.

[0073] In one embodiment, the message distribution platform 103 causes, at least in part, a limitation of a device storage capacity, a message discovery range, or a combination thereof of the message, one or more other messages, or a combination thereof at the originating device, the at least one receiving device, or a combination thereof. By way of example, the message distribution platform 103 determines the limitation based, at least in part, on the one or more metrics. [0074] FIG. 5 is a flowchart of a process for generating and updating metadata associated with location-based message distribution, according to one embodiment. In one embodiment, the message distribution platform 103 performs the process 500 of FIG. 5, and is implemented in, for instance, a chip set including a processor and a memory as shown in FIG. 10. In addition or alternatively, the message distribution application 107 may perform all or a portion of the process 500. In one embodiment, the process 500 assumes that one or more messages have been created and/or distributed as described in the process 300 of FIG. 3.

[0075] In step 501, the message distribution platform 103 determines to generate metadata associated with message. In one embodiment, the message distribution platform 103 generates at least part of the metadata by determining commenting information associated with the message (step 503). The message then causes, at least in part, an inclusion of the commenting information in metadata associated with the message. In one embodiment, the distribution of the message includes at least in part the commenting information. In addition, the message distribution platform 103 causes, at least in part, a monitoring of the commenting information for one or more updates. The message distribution platform 103 can then determine to update the metadata, the message, the storage, the distribution, or a combination thereof based, at least in part, on the one or more updates.

[0076] In some embodiments, the metadata include one or more metrics described previously. In this case, the message distribution platform 103 determines at least one of the metrics by determining a number of the originating device, the at least one receiving device, or a combination thereof carrying the message (step 505). The message distribution platform 103 then causes, at least in part, an inclusion of the number in the metadata.

[0077] In other embodiments, the metadata includes information on the geographic distribution of the message. In this case, the message distribution platform 103 determines extent information associated with the distribution (step 507). By way of example, the extent information includes, at least in part, a spreading radius, a spreading distance, a spreading speed, a hop count, or a combination thereof. The message distribution platform 103 then causes, at least in part, an inclusion of the extent information in the metadata.

[0078] In another embodiment, the message distribution platform 103 can periodically, continuously, according to a schedule or a combination thereof determine one or more updates to the metadata. The message distribution platform 103 then dynamically updates the metadata across all or a portion of the copies of the message available in the system 101 based, at least in part, on the one or more updates. In one embodiment, the dynamic update can occur in real time or substantially real time.

[0079] FIGs. 6A-6F are diagrams depicting sample use cases for providing location-based message distribution, according to various embodiments. In this example, FIGs. 6A-6C relate to how a message is created and spread, and FIGs. 6D-6F relate to how a user discovers messages. As shown diagram 601 of FIG. 6A, User A 603 captures an image of a panda character entertaining children at Forbidden City to create a location-based message for distribution. The message distribution platform 103 creates at least two copies of the message with the panda image. One copy is pinned to the originating location (e.g., Forbidden City), and another is carried in User A 603 's device (e.g., a UE 101). In this example, User A 603 wants to spread or distribute the panda message as widely as possible so that it may be seen by a large number of other users. User A 603 also wants to discuss the picture (e.g., via commenting) with other users who like it. The message distribution platform 103 assists User A 603 in accomplishing these goals.

[0080] In diagram 605 of FIG. 6A, User B 607 visits Forbidden City and discovers the copy of the panda message pinned to the location using the message distribution platform 103. In this example, User A 603 has already left the area, and the copy of the panda message carried by User A 603's devices is no longer available. User B 607 likes the picture in the panda message and decides to save the message in the message database 109 of his device.

[0081] In diagram 609 of FIG. 6A, User B 607 then travels from Forbidden City where he discovered the panda message to another location (e.g., the Great Wall). Because User B 607 has saved the panda message in his device, the message also is carried by User B 607 to the Great Wall.

[0082] In diagram 611 of FIG. 6A, User C 613 is within proximity of User B 607 at the Great Wall and is able to discover the panda message on User B 607's device. User C 613 also likes the panda image in the panda message and saves the panda message to her device via the message distribution platform 103.

[0083] In diagram 621 of FIG. 6A, User B 607 and User C 613 leave the Great Wall location and travel to their respective destinations (e.g., Temple of Heaven for User C 613 and Yuanming Yuan for User B 607). Because both users have saved the panda message in their respective devices, the panda message is also carried to the new destinations where other users can discover the panda message the respective destinations.

[0084] The process can then continue to spread the panda message to more users over greater distances provided other users remain interested in the message. For example, it is contemplated that more popular messages will be carried by more users over greater distances. As shown in FIG. 6C, the map user interface 641 indicates that the message has been picked up by at least two additional users (e.g., User C 643 and User D 645). The creator of the panda message (e.g., User A 603) can access the map user interface 641 to view the geographic distribution and popularity of his panda message. In this example, the paths taken by each carrier of the message is plotted in the map user interface 641. In some embodiments, User A 603 and the other carriers can initiate a chat session or otherwise provide comments regarding the panda message via the user interface 641.

[0085] FIGs. 6D-6F depict how a user discovers messages at different locations, according to various embodiments. In diagram 661, User 663 visits the Great Wall and discovers nearby messages from a group 665 of other users. In this example, because the location is a tourist attraction, the discovers message are likely to be mostly travel related. This concept reflects the idea that people with similar interests tend to travel to the same locations or events. Accordingly, User 663 and other users of the message distribution platform 103 can effectively filter for potential messages of interest just by visiting a particular location. In addition, because the composition and number of the users at a given location varies, the messages available for discovery are also constantly changing.

[0086] In diagram 671 of FIG. 6E, User 663 travels from the Great Wall to a cafe 673. This change in location results in a new group of nearby users operating under a different context (e.g., a context of being at the cafe 673). As shown in diagram 681 of FIG. 6F, User 663 is now surrounded by a new group 683 of users. In this new location, the topic of the messages may be more casual and varied because the typical topics of conversation at a cafe 673 generally vary more than messages created at, for instance, a tourist attraction like the Great Wall. Therefore, it is contemplated that the location can be semantically linked with the message topics found at a particular location. In other words, those users nearby may not be in the same social network, but can nonetheless share similar interests.

[0087] FIGs. 7A-7F are diagrams of user interfaces utilized in the processes of FIGs. 1-5, according to various embodiments. In the examples of FIGs. 7A-7F, a message storage associated with a device is referred to as a "bag" where messages are stored. As shown in FIG. 7A, a user interface 700 provides an option 701 to display "My Bag" (e.g., a bag containing messages created or carried by a user), an option 703 to display "Nearby Bags" (e.g., messages created or carried by nearby users), and an option 705 to display messages "Taken Here" (e.g., messages pinned to the location).

[0088] In this example, the user has selected option 701 to display the contents of the user's bag. User interface 700 depicts a list of the users messages 707a-707d and their respective metrics 709a-709d. As shown, the metrics include, for instance, the number of carriers, number of comments, spreading radius, spreading speed, and distance or mileage traveled. These metrics, for instance, can provide motivational feedback to the user to indicate how popular or well received the user's messages are.

[0089] In the example of user interface 710, the user has selected the option 703 to display nearby bags. Accordingly, the user interface 710 display a list of nearby messages 71 la-71 Id and corresponding metrics 713a-713d. In this case, the metrics can assist the user in deciding what messages to view and/or store in the user's device. For example, the user can select the more popular or well traveled messages so that once the user decides to store the message, that message would likely to be more popular with other users that might be encountered in the future.

[0090] FIG. 7B depicts example user interfaces 720 and 730 that represents nearby bags using different graphical representations. In other words, nearby bags may have different appearances or themes. As shown in user interface 720, the option 703 has been selected by a user to display nearby bags. In this example, the user interface 720 depicts a nearby bag with a custom icon 721 that belongs to a carrier "Lily". The user can then select the icon 721 to view the messages 723 that are inside the bag (e.g., Lily's bag carries 23 messages out of a total capacity of 40).

[0091] If there are multiple nearby bags, the user interface 730 can be presented. For example, in addition to Lily's bag icon 723, other bags may be displayed including an icon 731 for Tom's bag, an icon 733 for Coco's bag, and an icon 735 for Jim's bag. The user can then open the bag that he or she is interested in and browse the messages inside. Through this function, the message distribution platform 103, for instance, improves the message browsing experience because messages carried by a user are normally correlated. In other words, if a user is interested in one message in a bag, he or she would also have a higher chance of being interested in other messages in the same bag. At the same time, because a user's bag is visible to others, the process encourages users to carry high quality message that would be of interest to others.

[0092] In one embodiment, the message distribution platform 103 enables users to change and/or upgrade their message bags, which can also change the appearance or representation of the bags (e.g., how the bag will be seen by other users in a user interface). As shown in user interface 730, the icons 721 and 731-735 have different physical appearances that allow for customization the respective users. In one embodiment, a user can upgrade (e.g., due to some achievement or by payment) to a better looking bag, a higher capacity bag (e.g., bag icons 731 and 733 which have a 50-message capacity versus the 40-message capacity of bag icons 721 and 735), etc. In another embodiment, bags may be stylized to reflect advertising (e.g., ad- sponsored bags). In this case, such bags may have higher capacities in exchange for users how carry such sponsored bags. In some embodiments, the sponsored bags may be preloaded with advertisement message that can be distributed to others via the processes described in the various embodiments.

[0093] FIG. 7C depicts a user interface 740 for displaying message and their respective metrics overlaid on a map. In particular, this example depicts messages and metric related specifically to message created and/or carried by the user, as indicated by the selection of option 741 designating "me" versus "all" messages. For example, the user interface 740 displays the originating location 743 of messages and the carriers 745 of the messages. The user interface 740 also displays the locations 747a-747c where other users 749a-749c have accessed and carried away messages from the user. [0094] FIG. 7D depicts a user interface 750 that alerts the user when his bag or message storage has reached its maximum capacity. As shown, the user interface 750 displays an alert 751 (e.g., "Your Bag is full!") and a symbol 753 to indicate that ten of ten available message storage slots have been filled. The alert 751 also gives the user the option to replace an existing message. In this example, the user selects to replace one message in the bag, and is then presented with the user interface 760 which lists current messages 761a-761d and their respective metrics 763a-763d. The metrics, for instance, are presented to assist the user in determining which message the user should replace (e.g., by enabling the user to identify and select the least popular for deletion).

[0095] FIG. 7E depicts a user interface 770 for displaying the content 771 of a message. In this example, the content 771 is a picture of a waterfall shared by the user. In addition, the user interface 770 enables the user to view comments 773 that have been left by other users who have viewed or carried the message. As discussed previously, comments posted to a message can be threaded and synchronized across all or a portion of other instances or copies of the message throughout the system 100.

[0096] FIG. 8A is a diagram of the components of a wireless node including an awareness services module for message distribution, according to one embodiment. As previously discussed, one communication protocol used for distributing location-based messages is a peer- to-peer or device-to-device (D2D) protocol over an ad-hoc mesh network. FIGs. 8A-8E described an example system. The description of the ad-hoc mesh network described below is not intended to be limiting, and it is contemplated that any peer-to-peer or D2D protocol may be used to distribute location-based messages as described in various embodiments. FIG. 8A is described with respect to FIGs. 8B-8E which are diagrams of the components of an awareness services module 802, according to various exemplary embodiments. Although not shown, the message distribution platform 103 may also be integrated with the awareness services module 802 in certain embodiments. It is noted that the integration and/or interaction of these modules merges the capabilities of the awareness services module 802 with the message distribution platform 103.

[0097] In FIG. 8A, a wireless node 101 includes one or more components for sharing awareness information (e.g., messages or other related data) within an ad-hoc mesh network (e.g., communication network 105). It is contemplated that the functions of these components may be combined in one or more components or performed by other components of equivalent functionality. In this embodiment, the wireless node 101 includes an application 801 that uses awareness information to provide various services and functions including location-based message distribution. The application 801 may interact with the awareness services module 802 to obtain or share awareness information (e.g., location-based messages).

[0098] By way of example, the awareness services module 802 includes three layers: a cognition layer 803, a community layer 805, and a network layer 807. The cognition layer 803 is the highest control layer for sharing awareness information. As shown in FIG. 8B, the cognition layer 803 includes a control logic 821 and item storage 823. The control logic 821 , for instance, provides the logic for creating, publishing, querying, and receiving awareness information over the ad-hoc mesh network. The control logic 821 can store the information that it either creates or receives in the item storage 823. It is contemplated that the item storage 823 may be of sufficient size to store all or a portion of the information that flows through the wireless node 101 over a configurable period of time (e.g., days, months, or years).

[0099] In exemplary embodiments, the control logic 821 enables querying and dissemination of awareness information by initiating the flooding of the query or information to neighboring wireless nodes 101 within the ad-hoc mesh network. For example, upon receiving a query, the wireless nodes 101 in the local neighborhood that have the queried information reply to the querying node automatically. In exemplary embodiments, the reply information is also automatically stored in the item storage 823 of each wireless node 101 through which the propagating reply passes. Moreover, the reply to a query may result in return of a pointer to specific content relevant to the query rather than the content itself under certain circumstances (e.g., when the specific content is large in size). It is contemplated that the reply may contain direct content if the content is relatively small (e.g., a few tens of bytes of information). By using a pointer, the system 100 minimizes the data traffic that flows through the ad-hoc mesh network. The user may then access the content via the pointer (e.g., a universal resource locator (URL) address, IP address) via a more appropriate communication protocol (e.g., IP) and/or means of communication (e.g. infrastructure networks). The receipt of the pointer (e.g., IP address) may automatically trigger the transfer of the content using, for instance, the communication protocol associated with the pointer. In the case of broadcasting or publishing information, any wireless node 101 through which the published information propagates may store the information in item storage 823 of the wireless node 101.

[0100] In other exemplary embodiments, awareness information can also be published directly by flooding an awareness message. Such a push mode for the dissemination of awareness information can be used to support some applications (e.g. advertising or group chatting) over the ad-hoc mesh network.

[0101] It is recognized that privacy and anonymity may be of concern to users of the system 100. Accordingly, the control logic 821 provides mechanisms for ensuring privacy and anonymity. For example, the control logic 821 can prevent the transmission of intimate information when the number of neighboring wireless nodes is small to prevent the possibility of inferring identity, As used herein, the term "intimate information" refers to information directly related to the user, e.g., the user's habits, tastes, or preferences (musical preferences, favorite restaurants, etc.).

[0102] The control logic 821 may also periodically broadcast decoy queries and replies to make tracking an individual wireless node 101 more difficult. Since an outside observer does not know the authentication key associated with a community, the observer cannot distinguish a valid message from a fictitious one. Accordingly, by observing decoy messages, the observer is likely to detect presence of a private community when there is not one. Additionally, the control logic 821 enables to user to define filters for incoming information (e.p.. filter advertisements) and how these filters would work (e.g., ignore the information completely, relay the information but do not store, etc.). It is also contemplated that the user can direct the control logic 821 to control the user's visibility on the ad-hoc mesh network (e.g., no visibility, visible only to a certain community or other user) to maintain privacy. As another mechanism for protecting privacy, the control logic 821 can interact with the community layer 805 to anonymize a specific message and corresponding identifiers as described below with respect to the community layer 805.

[0103] Because one of the goals of the system 100 is to provide a mechanism for anonymous spreading of awareness information, it is recognized that undesired or unsolicited messages (e.g., spam messages) may become a problem. To address this problem, the control logic 821 may obtain, for instance, information from the lower system layers of the awareness services module 802 about the traffic load and current average power consumption. If the traffic load is medium or high (meaning that also power consumption related to the system 100 is medium or high) restrictions may be set for the frequency at which flooding messages are sent by the control logic 821. It is also contemplated, that the neighboring peer wireless nodes 101 can be configured to not forward any flooding messages originating from a wireless node 101 neglecting such message restrictions.

[0104] The cognition layer 803, together with the community layer 805, provide an application programming interface (API) 825 to enable an application 801 to access the functions of the control logic 821 and the item storage 823. In exemplary embodiments, the API 825 enables application developers to have uniform and easy access to functions related to sharing awareness information over the ad-hoc mesh network. It is contemplated that the API 825 is extensible to accommodate any application designed to access or use awareness information. The applications in the various wireless nodes 101 do not have to be the same or mutually compatible. It is sufficient that the applications use the API correctly to be able to publish and search awareness information in the surrounding wireless nodes 101 .

[0105] The cognition layer 803 also has connectivity to the community layer 805. The community layer 805 controls the formation and cataloging of communities of wireless nodes

101 within the ad-hoc mesh network. By way of example, a user may create any number of communities for sharing awareness information. It is contemplated that a communitv mav be either a peer community (e.g., any wireless node 101 may join), a personal community (e.g., a wireless node 101 may join only if invited), or the open local community that consists of all nodes in the local neighborhood. In exemplary embodiments, the messages that traverse between the wireless nodes 101 within the ad-hoc mesh network belong to one of these three community types. Communities can either be private (messages are encrypted) or public (no encryption used). In exemplary embodiments, membership and status in a community affect how the wireless node 101 shares awareness information (see the discussion with respect to FIG. 8G for additional details of community membership).

[0106] Furthermore, a community may be created for any purpose or duration (e.g., a permanent work community, a permanent community of friends, a temporary community of concert goers lasting only the duration of the concert). As shown in FIG. 8C, the community layer 805 includes a community control module 841, a community directory 843, and an encryption/decryption module 845. The community control module 841 provides the logic for creating, joining, managing (e.g., updating membership, configuring settings and preferences, setting privacy policies), and deleting communities. The community control module 841 also provides part of the API 825.

[0107] In exemplary embodiments, the community control module 841 assigns a unique community identification number (CID) to each community for use within the ad-hoc mesh network. The community control module 841 can also generate authentication keys K associated with the CID to, for instance, authenticate users who wish to join the community or authenticate messages directed to the community. For example, a wireless node 101 may invite another wireless node 101 to join a community by transferring the CID and authentication keys associated with the community to the other wireless node 101. It is contemplated that the transfer of the CID and corresponding authentication key may occur using short range radio or using another secure mechanism (e.g., short message service (SMS) or electronic mail). It is noted that both peer and personal communities use a CID and corresponding , whereas the open local community either can use a predetermined value for CID (e.g., zero) or does not use the CID at all.

[0108] To ensure privacy (as discussed above), the community control module 841 interacts an encryption/decryption module 845 to anonymize the CID when including the CID in messages over the ad hoc mesh network. For example, a wireless node 101 may direct a query to a specific community using an anonymized CID (e.g., a pseudonym) associated with the community in lieu of the actual CID. In exemplary embodiments, multiple anonymized CIDs may be used to represent a single community. In this way, it is more difficult to identify queries corresponding to a particular community by monitoring traffic within the ad hoc mesh network. From the perspective of an outside observer, the anonymized CIDs look random. In addition, the encryption/decryption module 845 may encrypt or decrypt message data using, for instance, a temporary key that is periodically derived from the authentication key K associated with the CID. These measures hinder the discovery of the CID by outsiders that do not have the authentication key. By way of example, the community layer 805 inserts a special header into the messages that it receives from the cognition layer 803. The special header, for instance, contains a list of anonymized community identifiers corresponding to the communities to which the message is relevant.

[0109] FIG. 8D is a state diagram of the effect of community membership and status on sharing awareness information, according to an exemplary embodiment. As shown in FIG. 8D, a wireless node 101 may be in either one or two states (e.g., a not-joined state 851 and a joined state 853) with respect to membership in a community within the ad-hoc mesh network. The application 801 of wireless node 101 issues, for instance, a command 855 to either join or leave a community to transition between the not-joined state 851 and the joined state 853. When the wireless node 101 is in the not-joined state 851 with respect to a community, the wireless node 101 has no information (e.g., CID and associated authentication keys K) about the community and cannot access messages directed to the community. When the wireless node 101 is in the joined state 853, the community layer 805 receives the CID and possibly one or more authentication keys associated with the community. In one embodiment, authentication keys are provided when membership in the community is by invitation or otherwise restricted (e.g., when the community is a personal community or a private community). Accordingly, the community layer 805 will be able to encrypt outgoing community specific messages and to decrypt incoming community specific messages.

[0110] When the wireless node 101 is in the joined state 853, the wireless node 101 may also be in either an inactive state 857 or an active state 859. To transition between the inactive state 857 and the active state 859, the application 801 may issue a command 861 to either activate or deactivate the joined state 853 via the application programming interface 825. When the wireless node 101 is in the inactive state 857, the community layer 805 abandons the message even though it is a member of the community. In certain embodiments, the wireless node 101 may also be invisible to other members of the community while in the inactive state 857. For example, the wireless node 101 may enter the inactive state 857 when it temporarily does not want to receive or share information with the community. When the wireless node 101 is in the active state 859, the community layer 805 encrypts and decrypts community messages as usual for private communities, and enables all outgoing and incoming community specific messages for public communities (e.g., communities with no restrictions on membership).

[0111] Within the active state 859, the wireless node 101 may also be in either an invisible state 863 or a visible state 865. To transition between the invisible state 863 and the visible state 865, the application 801 issues a command 867 to set either the visible or invisible state. When in the invisible state 863, the community-specific identity (e.g., a user alias) associated with the wireless node 101 cannot be queried by other members of the community. For example, in the invisible state 863, the community layer 805 continues to receive and send community messages without its identity known to other community members. When in the visible state 865, the identity of the wireless node 101 can be queried by other members of the community. [0112] In various embodiments, the community directory 843 of the community layer 805 maintains, for instance, information on the communities that the user has joined. Such information contains, at least, the community identification (CID). Additionally, it may contain public and/or private authentication keys (K) of the joined communities and a list of anonymized community identifiers for each community. The community control module 841 may periodically recalculate the list of anonymized CIDs. By way of example, the community layer 805 inserts a header into the message it receives from the cognition layer 803. The header contains, for instance, a list of anonymized community identifiers identifying the communities to which the message is relevant.

[0113] It is contemplated that a special personal community can be reserved for tracking new bonds or relationships created between users. Consider, for example, that user A meets user B for the first time and wants to create a radio bond between the mobile devices corresponding to each user. In one embodiment, user A can initiate the creation this bond with user B by transferring to user B (e.g., by using a secure transfer mechanism) the CID and the public K of user A's personal "new bonds" community. Similarly, user B may give user A similar credentials corresponding to user B's "new bonds" community. Once the credentials are exchanged and the bond has been created, user A may find user B over the ad-hoc mesh network by searching for members of user A's "new bonds" community. In other words, with a simple search of a single community, user A can search for all the people in user A's local neighborhood with whom she has created a bond. This requires that a high number of community CIDs and s can be stored in the community directory 843. Also, an effective lookup of the community directory must be provided. There are many existing and good solutions for such efficient lookup.

[0114] As the user creates new bonds, the number community CIDs and Ks stored in the user's community directory 843 can grow quite large. Accordingly, to enable effective search of a large number of communities, the community layer 805 may generate a special community search message to initiate the search. For example, the special community search message contains, at least in part, a list of anonymized community identifiers corresponding to the communities to be searched. To protect the privacy, the community layer 805 can generate a new set of anonymized community identifiers for each community search message. If the community layer 805 finds a match to any of the anonymized community identifiers in any of the neighboring wireless nodes 101 that receives the search message, the community layer 805 generates a reply message that may contain the alias of the user in that community or other community specific information. The reply message may be encrypted with the encryption key of the community.

[0115] As shown in FIG. 8C, the community layer 805 has connectivity to the cognition layer 803 above and the network layer 807 below. The network layer 807 manages the rebroadcasting of received flooding messages and the routing of the unicast (typically reply) messages received by the wireless node 101. FIG. 8E depicts a diagram of the components of the network layer 807, according to an exemplary embodiment. The network layer 807 includes a network control module 871, routing table 873, neighbor table 875, message identification (MID) table 877, and message table 879. The network control module 871 directs the broadcasts of messages and information by managing and updating the routing table 873, neighbor table 875, MID table 877, and message table 879. In certain embodiments, the network control module 871 may also assist in protecting the privacy and anonymity of users by periodically changing the network layer identification associated with the wireless node 101. It is noted that making such a change in the network layer identification between queries does not cause routing problems for replies because the routing information is recreated by each query in the ad-hoc mesh network.

[0116] In exemplary embodiments, the network layer 807 may insert a header into messages it receives from the community layer 805 to, for instance, direct flooding and routing of the received messages. The structure of this network layer message header 881 is discussed with respect to FIG. 8F. FIG. 8F is a diagram of the data structure of a network layer message header, according to an exemplary embodiment. As shown, the message header 881 contains the following fields: (1) a TX field 882 to identify the transmitter node ID (NID) of the last transmitting wireless node 101; (2) a SRC field 883 to identify the source node ID of the wireless node 101 that originated the message; (3) a DST field 884 to identify the destination source ID of the intended recipient of a unicast (reply) message (e.g., this field is give a value of zero when the message is a flooding messages); (4) a MSN field 885 to identify the message sequence number assigned by the source node; and (5) a hop count field 886 that is incremented by one by each wireless node 101 that transmits the message. In certain embodiments, the message header 881 may also contain the following optional fields: (6) a geographical limit field 887 to designate the extent of the physical over which the message is intended to propagate (e.g., the geographical limit field 887 may contain a geographical position of the source node and a maximum flooding radius from that position); (7) a temporal limit field 888 (e.g., the temporal limit field 888 may contain the time when the message becomes obsolete and should be dropped); and (8) a context limit field 889 that defines the context beyond which the message is not intended to propagate (e.g. a message related to a particular concert is not intended to extend beyond the concert venue).

[0117] Returning to FIG. 8E, the network layer 807 also contains a routing table 873. In exemplary embodiments, the routing table 873 contains a listing of the node identification number (NID) of the originating wireless node 101 (e.g., source NID) and the NIDs of the last known transmitters of the message. The purpose of the routing table is to enable the routing of the reply messages (e.g., unicast messages) back to the querying node that originated the query through a flooding message. As the message propagates through the ad-hoc mesh network, each subsequent wireless node 101 that receives the message adds the NID of the last transmitter to the routing table to record the next hop neighbor towards the source node. The source node is marked as the destination wireless node (DST) in the routing table. Also the message sequence number of the message is recorded. The update of the routing table 873 is coordinated by the network control module 871. As shown in Table 1, the routing table 873 lists the destination NID, the transmitter NIDs associated with wireless nodes 101 that have rebroadcasted a message and the MSN of the message.

Figure imgf000035_0001

Table 1

[0118] The neighbor table 875 contains a list of the neighboring wireless nodes 101 and an estimate of their relative radio distance (see Table 3). It is contemplated that the observed signal strength together with the known transmitting power of a neighboring wireless node 101 is an indicator of the proximity of the wireless node 101 and can be used to calculate the relative radio distance. The relative radio distance of the node from which the message was last received is then used as a criterion for whether or not the wireless node 101 retransmits a received message. For instance, higher signal strength indicates closer proximity to the wireless node 101. The network control module 871 monitors the signal strengths of neighboring wireless nodes 101 as the network control module 871 receives messages from nearby devices and uses it to estimate the relative radio distance (e.g., proximity of the transmitting wireless node 101). It is also contemplated that the network control module 871 may use any other mechanism for estimating the relative radio distance of neighboring nodes (e.g., estimating location using global positioning satellite receivers or other positioning techniques).

[0119] In certain embodiments, the network control module 871 uses the proximity information to direct the routing and transmission of messages over the ad-hoc mesh network. For example, the system 100 can reduce the potential for overloading the ad-hoc mesh network by implementing a smart flooding scheme whereby only a few wireless nodes 101 retransmit a flooding message. Whether a wireless node 101 retransmits a flooding message can be dependent on the relative distance group (e.g., "very near", "near", or "far") to which the wireless node 101 that is the transmitter of the message belongs. More specifically, if the transmitting wireless node 101 is in the "far" or "near" group, the receiving wireless node 101 can retransmit the flooding message. If the transmitting wireless node 101 is in the "very near" group, the receiving wireless node 101 does not retransmit the flooding message. For each broadcast message received from a wireless node 101 in either the "far" or "near" group, the network control module 871 assigns a random delay time for relaying or rebroad casting. The delay period, for instance, exhibits a distribution function based on the estimated relative radio distance as a way to randomize the delay period before transmission. The distribution should be chosen in such a way that the random delay is larger for those nodes that are "near" than for those that are "far." This favors, for instance, wireless nodes 101 that are further away to relay the flooding message forward, which results in better flooding efficiency (smaller total number of transmissions). The use of a random delay time also prevents the unintended synchronization of message broadcasts as the message propagates over the ad-hoc mesh network. For example, unintended synchronization of the message broadcasts may result in too many wireless nodes 101 sending broadcasting (i.e., flooding) messages over the ad-hoc mesh network at exactly the same time. Additionally, the delay time provides an opportunity for the network control module 871 to monitor and count rebroadcasts of the message by other neighboring wireless nodes 101.

Figure imgf000037_0001
Table 2

[0120] The MID table 877 contains a list of received messages. As the wireless node 101 receives messages from neighboring nodes over the ad hoc mesh network, the network control module 871 uses the MID table to check whether the message has been received previously by, for example, comparing the MIDs in the MID table 877 to that of the received message. The MID table 877 also contains a flag indicating whether a message has been transmitted by the wireless node 101 and the time when the entry was last updated. In exemplary embodiments, the MID is the tuple (SRC, MSN), where SRC is the NID of the source node and MSN is a message sequence number assigned by the source node. In this way, the MID is a unique identifier of each message that propagates in the ad-hoc mesh network. The network control module 871 makes an entry in the MID table 877 for all new messages that it receives. If the message has been scheduled for transmission, the network control module 871 increments the message counter in the message table (see Table 4). MID Sent flag Time of reception

(SRC,, MSNi i) "SENT" ti l

(SRCi, MSN 12) "NOT SENT" t,2

...

(SRC2, MSN2]) "NOT SENT" t21

Table 3

[0121] The message table 879 contains messages that the network control module 871 has scheduled to transmit. For example, as the wireless node 101 receives a flooding message that the network control module 871 schedules for transmission, the network control module 871 updates the message table to include the message in the message table 879. Each entry in the message table 879 contains the message itself, the time when the message is scheduled to be sent, and the number of receptions of the same message by the wireless node 101 (see Table 4). In exemplary embodiments, a message is not relayed over the ad-hoc mesh network if the number of times the message has been received exceeds a predefined limit. For example, a message has the initial count of 0. In this example, as a wireless node 101 in the neighborhood is observed to transmit the message, the message count associated with the message is increased. When the maximum message count is reached, the network control module 871 removes the message from the message table 879. The transmitter of each message is also associated with an estimated relative radio distance (D) indicating whether the transmitting wireless node 101 is within close proximity of the wireless node 101 (e.g., transmitting wireless node 101 is in the "very near" relative radio distance group) or far from the wireless node 101 (e.g., transmitting wireless node 101 is in the "far" relative radio distance group). If the relative radio distance associated with the transmitting wireless node 101 indicates that the transmission of the message occurred "very near," the wireless node 101 would not have to relay the message because it is assumed, for instance, that most of the other neighboring wireless nodes 101 have already received the same message. By taking into account the relative radio distances of neighboring nodes, the described smart flooding functionality leads to, on average, each flooding message being received for a few times by each wireless node 101 independent of the node density. The number of times a message is received by any one wireless node 101 affects the scalability of the ad-hoc mesh network.

[0122] If the received message, however, is a unicast reply message that was addressed to the receiving wireless node 101 , the network control module 871 checks whether the destination wireless node 101 can be found in the routing table 873 (e.g., can be found from the destination field in the reply message, or obtained from the source field of the query by the replying node). If found, the routing table entry will give the NID of the neighboring node to which the reply message will be sent in the next opportunity. If the unicast transmission is not successful, the next entry for the same DST will be used as the next try. If the received message is a unicast reply message that was not addressed to the receiving wireless node 101 , and no acknowledgment from the intended receiver node was heard, the node will store the message in the message table 879 for scheduled retransmission. It is noted that unicast messages or acknowledgement messages that are not addressed to the wireless node 101 are normally received D2D radio layer 809 (see discussion of the D2D radio layer 809 below) but not by the awareness services module 802. However, under certain circumstances, the D2D radio layer 809 can provide such messages to the awareness services module 802 to schedule for retransmission. For example, if no successful unicast of the same message is observed by the time when the message is scheduled to be transmitted, the wireless node 101 will transmit the unicast or acknowledgement message to the intended recipient found from the routing table 873 associated with the message. In this way, the wireless nodes 101 that are not the intended recipients of the reply messages can assist in routing the message forward towards the correct destination.

Figure imgf000039_0001
MSG2 C2

MSGM tM CM

Table 4

[0123] As shown in FIG. 8A, the awareness services module 802 has connectivity to a device-to-device (D2D) radio layer 809. The D2D radio layer 809 enables the formation of the ad-hoc mesh network and sharing of awareness information using, for instance, short range radio technologies such WLAN and Bluetooth®. It is contemplated that the D2D radio layer 809 may use any wireless technology for communication between devices over short ranges. The radio technology, for instance, enables each wireless node 101 within the ad-hoc mesh network to broadcast messages in a connectionless way to the neighboring wireless nodes 101 that are within radio range. As used herein, the term "connectionless" means the wireless nodes 101 need not use two-way signaling to establish a communication channel before broadcasting a message. In exemplary embodiments, the D2D radio layer 809 may include multiple radios using one or more different technologies or protocols (e.g., WLAN and Bluetooth® simultaneously). A wireless node 101 configured with multiple radios may act as a gateway node to span two or more sub-networks serviced by the different wireless technologies. In this way, messages broadcast on one sub-network may be propagated to another sub-network.

[0124] The processes described herein for providing location-based message distribution may be advantageously implemented via software, hardware, firmware or a combination of software and/or firmware and/or hardware. For example, the processes described herein, may be advantageously implemented via processor(s), Digital Signal Processing (DSP) chip, an Application Specific Integrated Circuit (ASIC), Field Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGAs), etc. Such exemplary hardware for performing the described functions is detailed below.

[0125] FIG. 9 illustrates a computer system 900 upon which an embodiment of the invention may be implemented. Although computer system 900 is depicted with resnect to a narticular device or equipment, it is contemplated that other devices or equipment (e.g., network elements, servers, etc.) within FIG. 9 can deploy the illustrated hardware and components of system 900. Computer system 900 is programmed (e.g., via computer program code or instructions) to provide location-based message distribution as described herein and includes a communication mechanism such as a bus 910 for passing information between other internal and external components of the computer system 900. Information (also called data) is represented as a physical expression of a measurable phenomenon, typically electric voltages, but including, in other embodiments, such phenomena as magnetic, electromagnetic, pressure, chemical, biological, molecular, atomic, sub-atomic and quantum interactions. For example, north and south magnetic fields, or a zero and non-zero electric voltage, represent two states (0, 1) of a binary digit (bit). Other phenomena can represent digits of a higher base. A superposition of multiple simultaneous quantum states before measurement represents a quantum bit (qubit). A sequence of one or more digits constitutes digital data that is used to represent a number or code for a character. In some embodiments, information called analog data is represented by a near continuum of measurable values within a particular range. Computer system 900, or a portion thereof, constitutes a means for performing one or more steps of providing location-based message distribution.

[0126] A bus 910 includes one or more parallel conductors of information so that information is transferred quickly among devices coupled to the bus 910. One or more processors 902 for processing information are coupled with the bus 910.

[0127] A processor (or multiple processors) 902 performs a set of operations on information as specified by computer program code related to providing location-based message distribution. The computer program code is a set of instructions or statements providing instructions for the operation of the processor and/or the computer system to perform specified functions. The code, for example, may be written in a computer programming language that is compiled into a native instruction set of the processor. The code may also be written directly using the native instruction set (e.g., machine language). The set of operations include bringing information in from the bus 910 and placing information on the bus 910. The set of operations also typically include comparing two or more units of information, shifting positions of units of information, and combining two or more units of information, such as by addition or multiplication or logical operations like OR, exclusive OR (XOR), and AND. Each operation of the set of operations that can be performed by the processor is represented to the processor by information called instructions, such as an operation code of one or more digits. A sequence of operations to be executed by the processor 902, such as a sequence of operation codes, constitute processor instructions, also called computer system instructions or, simply, computer instructions. Processors may be implemented as mechanical, electrical, magnetic, optical, chemical or quantum components, among others, alone or in combination.

[0128] Computer system 900 also includes a memory 904 coupled to bus 910. The memory 904, such as a random access memory (RAM) or any other dynamic storage device, stores information including processor instructions for providing location-based message distribution. Dynamic memory allows information stored therein to be changed by the computer system 900. RAM allows a unit of information stored at a location called a memory address to be stored and retrieved independently of information at neighboring addresses. The memory 904 is also used by the processor 902 to store temporary values during execution of processor instructions. The computer system 900 also includes a read only memory (ROM) 906 or any other static storage device coupled to the bus 910 for storing static information, including instructions, that is not changed by the computer system 900. Some memory is composed of volatile storage that loses the information stored thereon when power is lost. Also coupled to bus 910 is a non-volatile (persistent) storage device 908, such as a magnetic disk, optical disk or flash card, for storing information, including instructions, that persists even when the computer system 900 is turned off or otherwise loses power.

[0129] Information, including instructions for providing location-based message distribution, is provided to the bus 910 for use by the processor from an external input device 912, such as a keyboard containing alphanumeric keys operated by a human user, a microphone, an Infrared (IR) remote control, a joystick, a game pad, a stylus pen, a touch screen, or a sensor. A sensor detects conditions in its vicinity and transforms those detections into physical expression compatible with the measurable phenomenon used to represent information in computer system 900. Other external devices coupled to bus 910, used primarily for interacting with humans, include a display device 914, such as a cathode ray tube (CRT), a liquid crystal display (LCD), a light emitting diode (LED) display, an organic LED (OLED) display, a plasma screen, or a printer for presenting text or images, and a pointing device 916, such as a mouse, a trackball, cursor direction keys, or a motion sensor, for controlling a position of a small cursor image presented on the display 914 and issuing commands associated with graphical elements presented on the display 914. In some embodiments, for example, in embodiments in which the computer system 900 performs all functions automatically without human input, one or more of external input device 912, display device 914 and pointing device 916 is omitted.

[0130] In the illustrated embodiment, special purpose hardware, such as an application specific integrated circuit (ASIC) 920, is coupled to bus 910. The special purpose hardware is configured to perform operations not performed by processor 902 quickly enough for special purposes. Examples of ASICs include graphics accelerator cards for generating images for display 914, cryptographic boards for encrypting and decrypting messages sent over a network, speech recognition, and interfaces to special external devices, such as robotic arms and medical scanning equipment that repeatedly perform some complex sequence of operations that are more efficiently implemented in hardware. [0131] Computer system 900 also includes one or more instances of a communications interface 970 coupled to bus 910. Communication interface 970 provides a one-way or two- way communication coupling to a variety of external devices that operate with their own processors, such as printers, scanners and external disks. In general the coupling is with a network link 978 that is connected to a local network 980 to which a variety of external devices with their own processors are connected. For example, communication interface 970 may be a parallel port or a serial port or a universal serial bus (USB) port on a personal computer. In some embodiments, communications interface 970 is an integrated services digital network (ISDN) card or a digital subscriber line (DSL) card or a telephone modem that provides an information communication connection to a corresponding type of telephone line. In some embodiments, a communication interface 970 is a cable modem that converts signals on bus 910 into signals for a communication connection over a coaxial cable or into optical signals for a communication connection over a fiber optic cable. As another example, communications interface 970 may be a local area network (LAN) card to provide a data communication connection to a compatible LAN, such as Ethernet. Wireless links may also be implemented. For wireless links, the communications interface 970 sends or receives or both sends and receives electrical, acoustic or electromagnetic signals, including infrared and optical signals, that carry information streams, such as digital data. For example, in wireless handheld devices, such as mobile telephones like cell phones, the communications interface 970 includes a radio band electromagnetic transmitter and receiver called a radio transceiver. In certain embodiments, the communications interface 970 enables connection to the communication network 105 for providing location-based message distribution to the UE 101.

[0132] The term "computer-readable medium" as used herein refers to any medium that participates in providing information to processor 902, including instructions for execution. Such a medium may take many forms, including, but not limited to computer-readable storage medium (e.g., non-volatile media, volatile media), and transmission media. Non-transitory media, such as non-volatile media, include, for example, optical or magnetic disks, such as storage device 908. Volatile media include, for example, dynamic memory 904. Transmission media include, for example, twisted pair cables, coaxial cables, copper wire, fiber optic cables, and carrier waves that travel through space without wires or cables, such as acoustic waves and electromagnetic waves, including radio, optical and infrared waves. Signals include man-made transient variations in amplitude, frequency, phase, polarization or other physical properties transmitted through the transmission media. Common forms of computer-readable media include, for example, a floppy disk, a flexible disk, hard disk, magnetic tape, any other magnetic medium, a CD-ROM, CDRW, DVD, any other optical medium, punch cards, paper tape, optical mark sheets, any other physical medium with patterns of holes or other optically recognizable indicia, a RAM, a PROM, an EPROM, a FLASH-EPROM, an EEPROM, a flash memory, any other memory chip or cartridge, a carrier wave, or any other medium from which a computer can read. The term computer-readable storage medium is used herein to refer to any computer-readable medium except transmission media.

[0133] Logic encoded in one or more tangible media includes one or both of processor instructions on a computer-readable storage media and special purpose hardware, such as ASIC 920.

[0134] Network link 978 typically provides information communication using transmission media through one or more networks to other devices that use or process the information. For example, network link 978 may provide a connection through local network 980 tn a host computer 982 or to equipment 984 operated by an Internet Service Provider (ISP). ISP equipment 984 in turn provides data communication services through the public, world-wide packet-switching communication network of networks now commonly referred to as the Internet 990. [0135] A computer called a server host 992 connected to the Internet hosts a process that provides a service in response to information received over the Internet. For example, server host 992 hosts a process that provides information representing video data for presentation at display 914. It is contemplated that the components of system 900 can be deployed in various configurations within other computer systems, e.g., host 982 and server 992. [0136] At least some embodiments of the invention are related to the use of computer system 900 for implementing some or all of the techniques described herein. According to one embodiment of the invention, those techniques are performed by computer system 900 in response to processor 902 executing one or more sequences of one or more processor instructions contained in memory 904. Such instructions, also called computer instructions, software and program code, may be read into memory 904 from another computer-readable medium such as storage device 908 or network link 978. Execution of the sequences of instructions contained in memory 904 causes processor 902 to perform one or more of the method steps described herein. In alternative embodiments, hardware, such as ASIC 920, may be used in place of or in combination with software to implement the invention. Thus, embodiments of the invention are not limited to any specific combination of hardware and software, unless otherwise explicitly stated herein.

[0137] The signals transmitted over network link 978 and other networks through communications interface 970, carry information to and from computer system 900. Computer system 900 can send and receive information, including program code, through the networks 980, 990 among others, through network link 978 and communications interface 970. In an example using the Internet 990, a server host 992 transmits program code for a particular application, requested by a message sent from computer 900, through Internet 990, ISP equipment 984, local network 980 and communications interface 970. The received code may be executed by processor 902 as it is received, or may be stored in memory 904 or in storage device 908 or any other non-volatile storage for later execution, or both. In this manner, computer system 900 may obtain application program code in the form of signals on a carrier wave.

[0138] Various forms of computer readable media may be involved in carrying one or more sequence of instructions or data or both to processor 902 for execution. For example, instructions and data may initially be carried on a magnetic disk of a remote computer such as host 982. The remote computer loads the instructions and data into its dynamic memory and sends the instructions and data over a telephone line using a modem. A modem local to the computer system 900 receives the instructions and data on a telephone line and uses an infra-red transmitter to convert the instructions and data to a signal on an infra-red carrier wave serving as the network link 978. An infrared detector serving as communications interface 970 receives the instructions and data carried in the infrared signal and places information representing the instructions and data onto bus 910. Bus 910 carries the information to memory 904 from which processor 902 retrieves and executes the instructions using some of the data sent with the instructions. The instructions and data received in memory 904 may optionally be stored on storage device 908, either before or after execution by the processor 902.

[0139] FIG. 10 illustrates a chip set or chip 1000 upon which an embodiment of the invention may be implemented. Chip set 1000 is programmed to provide location-based message distribution as described herein and includes, for instance, the processor and memory components described with respect to FIG. 9 incorporated in one or more physical packages (e.g., chips). By way of example, a physical package includes an arrangement of one or more materials, components, and/or wires on a structural assembly (e.g., a baseboard) to provide one or more characteristics such as physical strength, conservation of size, and/or limitation of electrical interaction. It is contemplated that in certain embodiments the chip set 1000 can be implemented in a single chip. It is further contemplated that in certain embodiments the chip set or chip 1000 can be implemented as a single "system on a chip." It is further contemplated that in certain embodiments a separate ASIC would not be used, for example, and that all relevant functions as disclosed herein would be performed by a processor or processors. Chip set or chip 1000, or a portion thereof, constitutes a means for performing one or more steps of providing user interface navigation information associated with the availability of functions. Chip set or chip 1000, or a portion thereof, constitutes a means for performing one or more steps of providing location-based message distribution.

[0140] In one embodiment, the chip set or chip 1000 includes a communication mechanism such as a bus 1001 for passing information among the components of the chip set 1000. A processor 1003 has connectivity to the bus 1001 to execute instructions and process information stored in, for example, a memory 1005. The processor 1003 may include one or more processing cores with each core configured to perform independently. A multi-core processor enables multiprocessing within a single physical package. Examples of a multi-core processor include two, four, eight, or greater numbers of processing cores. Alternatively or in addition, the processor 1003 may include one or more microprocessors configured in tandem via the bus 1001 to enable independent execution of instructions, pipelining, and multithreading. The processor 1003 may also be accompanied with one or more specialized components to perform certain processing functions and tasks such as one or more digital signal processors (DSP) 1007, or one or more application-specific integrated circuits (ASIC) 1009. A DSP 1007 typically is configured to process real-world signals (e.g., sound) in real time independently of the processor 1003. Similarly, an ASIC 1009 can be configured to performed specialized functions not easily performed by a more general purpose processor. Other specialized components to aid in performing the inventive functions described herein may include one or more field programmable gate arrays (FPGA), one or more controllers, or one or more other special- purpose computer chips.

[0141] In one embodiment, the chip set or chip 1000 includes merely one or more processors and some software and/or firmware supporting and/or relating to and/or for the one or more processors.

[0142] The processor 1003 and accompanying components have connectivity to the memory 1005 via the bus 1001. The memory 1005 includes both dynamic memory (e.g., RAM, magnetic disk, writable optical disk, etc.) and static memory (e.g., ROM, CD-ROM, etc.) for storing executable instructions that when executed perform the inventive steps described herein to provide location-based message distribution. The memory 1005 also stores the data associated with or generated by the execution of the inventive steps. [0143] FIG. 1 1 is a diagram of exemplary components of a mobile terminal (e.g., handset) for communications, which is capable of operating in the system of FIG. I , according to one embodiment. In some embodiments, mobile terminal 1 101 , or a portion thereof, constitutes a means for performing one or more steps of providing location-based message distribution. Generally, a radio receiver is often defined in terms of front-end and back-end characteristics. The front-end of the receiver encompasses all of the Radio Frequency (RF) circuitry whereas the back-end encompasses all of the base-band processing circuitry. As used in this application, the term "circuitry" refers to both; (1) hardware-only implementations (such as implementations in only analog and/or digital circuitry), and (2) to combinations of circuitry and software (and/or firmware) (such as, if applicable to the particular context, to a combination of processor(s), including digital signal processor(s), software, and memory(ies) that work together to cause an apparatus, such as a mobile phone or server, to perform various functions). This definition of "circuitry" applies to all uses of this term in this application, including in any claims. As a further example, as used in this application and if applicable to the particular context, the term "circuitry" would also cover an implementation of merely a processor (or multiple processors) and its (or their) accompanying software/or firmware. The term "circuitry" would also cover if applicable to the particular context, for example, a baseband integrated circuit or applications processor integrated circuit in a mobile phone or a similar integrated circuit in a cellular network device or other network devices. [0144] Pertinent internal components of the telephone include a Main Control Unit (MCU) 1 103, a Digital Signal Processor (DSP) 1 105, and a receiver/transmitter unit including a microphone gain control unit and a speaker gain control unit. A main display unit 1 107 provides a display to the user in support of various applications and mobile terminal functions that perform or support the steps of providing location-based message distribution. The display 1 107 includes display circuitry configured to display at least a portion of a user interface of the mobile terminal (e.g., mobile telephone). Additionally, the display 1 107 and display circuitry are configured to facilitate user control of at least some functions of the mobile terminal. An audio function circuitry 1 109 includes a microphone 1 1 1 1 and microphone amplifier that amplifies the speech signal output from the microphone 1 1 1 1. The amplified speech signal output from the microphone 1 1 1 1 is fed to a coder/decoder (CODEC) 1 1 13. [0145] A radio section 1 1 15 amplifies power and converts frequency in order to communicate with a base station, which is included in a mobile communication system, via antenna 1 1 17, The power amplifier (PA) 1 1 19 and the transmitter/modulation circuitry are operationally responsive to the MCU 1 103, with an output from the PA 1 1 19 coupled to the duplexer 1 121 or circulator or antenna switch, as known in the art. The PA 1 1 19 also couples to a battery interface and power control unit 1 120.

[0146] In use, a user of mobile terminal 1 101 speaks into the microphone 1 1 1 1 and his or her voice along with any detected background noise is converted into an analog voltage. The analog voltage is then converted into a digital signal through the Analog to Digital Converter (ADC) 1 123. The control unit 1 103 routes the digital signal into the DSP 1 105 for processing therein, such as speech encoding, channel encoding, encrypting, and interleaving. In one embodiment, the processed voice signals are encoded, by units not separately shown, using a cellular transmission protocol such as enhanced data rates for global evolution (EDGE), general packet radio service (GPRS), global system for mobile communications (GSM), Internet protocol multimedia subsystem (IMS), universal mobile telecommunications system (UMTS), etc., as well as any other suitable wireless medium, e.g., microwave access (WiMAX), Long Term Evolution (LTE) networks, code division multiple access (CDMA), wideband code division multiple access (WCDMA), wireless fidelity (WiFi), satellite, and the like, or any combination thereof.

[0147] The encoded signals are then routed to an equalizer 1 125 for compensation of any frequency-dependent impairments that occur during transmission though the air such as phase and amplitude distortion. After equalizing the bit stream, the modulator 1 127 combines the signal with a RF signal generated in the RF interface 1 129. The modulator 1 127 generates a sine wave by way of frequency or phase modulation. In order to prepare the signal for transmission, an up-converter 1 131 combines the sine wave output from the modulator 1 127 with another sine wave generated by a synthesizer 1 133 to achieve the desired frequency of transmission. The signal is then sent through a PA 1 1 19 to increase the signal to an appropriate power level. In practical systems, the PA 1 1 19 acts as a variable gain amplifier whose gain is controlled by the DSP 1 105 from information received from a network base station. The signal is then filtered within the duplexer 1 121 and optionally sent to an antenna coupler 1 135 to match impedances to provide maximum power transfer. Finally, the signal is transmitted via antenna 1 1 17 to a local base station. An automatic gain control (AGC) can be supplied to control the gain of the final stages of the receiver. The signals may be forwarded from there to a remote telephone which may be another cellular telephone, any other mobile phone or a land-line connected to a Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN), or other telephony networks.

[0148] Voice signals transmitted to the mobile terminal 1101 are received via antenna 1 117 and immediately amplified by a low noise amplifier (LNA) 1 137. A down-converter 1139 lowers the carrier frequency while the demodulator 1 141 strips away the RF leaving only a digital bit stream. The signal then goes through the equalizer 1 125 and is processed by the DSP 1 105. A Digital to Analog Converter (DAC) 1 143 converts the signal and the resulting output is transmitted to the user through the speaker 1 145, all under control of a Main Control Unit (MCU) 1 103 which can be implemented as a Central Processing Unit (CPU).

[0149] The MCU 1 103 receives various signals including input signals from the keyboard 1147. The keyboard 1 147 and/or the MCU 1 103 in combination with other user input components (e.g., the microphone 1 1 1 1) comprise a user interface circuitry for managing user input. The MCU 1 103 runs a user interface software to facilitate user control of at least some functions of the mobile terminal 1 101 to provide location-based message distribution. The MCU 1103 also delivers a display command and a switch command to the display 1 107 and to the speech output switching controller, respectively. Further, the MCU 1 103 exchanges information with the DSP 1 105 and can access an optionally incorporated SIM card 1 149 and a memory 1 151. In addition, the MCU 1 103 executes various control functions required of the terminal. The DSP 1 105 may, depending upon the implementation, perform any of a variety of conventional digital processing functions on the voice signals. Additionally, DSP 1105 determines the background noise level of the local environment from the signals detected by microphone 1 1 11 and sets the gain of microphone 1 1 11 to a level selected to compensate for the natural tendency of the user of the mobile terminal 1101.

[0150] The CODEC 1 1 13 includes the ADC 1 123 and DAC 1 143. The memory 1 151 stores various data including call incoming tone data and is capable of storing other data including music data received via, e.g., the global Internet. The software module could reside in RAM memory, flash memory, registers, or any other form of writable storage medium known in the art. The memory device 1 151 may be, but not limited to, a single memory, CD, DVD, ROM, RAM, EEPROM, optical storage, magnetic disk storage, flash memory storage, or any other non-volatile storage medium capable of storing digital data.

[0151] An optionally incorporated SIM card 1 149 carries, for instance, important information, such as the cellular phone number, the carrier supplying service, subscription details, and security information. The SIM card 1 149 serves primarily to identify the mobile terminal 1 101 on a radio network. The card 1 149 also contains a memory for storing a personal telephone number registry, text messages, and user specific mobile terminal settings.

[0152] While the invention has been described in connection with a number of embodiments and implementations, the invention is not so limited but covers various obvious modifications and equivalent arrangements, which fall within the purview of the appended claims. Although features of the invention are expressed in certain combinations among the claims, it is contemplated that these features can be arranged in any combination and order.

Claims

CLAIMS WHAT IS CLAIMED IS:
1. A method comprising facilitating a processing of and/or processing (1) data and/or (2) information and/or (3) at least one signal, the (1) data and/or (2) information and/or (3) at least one signal based, at least in part, on the following:
an association of a first copy of a message with an originating location;
a storage of a second copy of the message in an originating device; and
a distribution of the first copy, the second copy, or a combination thereof to at least one
receiving device based, at least in part, on when the at least one receiving device is within proximity of the originating location, the originating device, or a combination thereof.
2. A method of claim 1 , wherein the (1) data and/or (2) information and/or (3) at least one signal are further based, at least in part, on the following:
at least one determination to transmit the first copy, the second copy, or a combination
thereof from the at least one receiving device to at least one other receiving device based, at least in part, on when the at least one other receiving device is within proximity of the at least one receiving device.
3. A method according to any of claims 1 and 2, wherein the (1) data and/or (2) information and/or (3) at least one signal are further based, at least in part, on the following:
a processing of context information associated with the originating location, the originating device, the at least one receiving device, or a combination thereof to determine one or more metrics associated with a quality, a distribution, or a combination thereof of the message.
4. A method of claim 3, wherein the (1) data and/or (2) information and/or (3) at least one signal are further based, at least in part, on the following: a processing of the context information to determine a geographic distribution of the message based, at (east in part, on location information associated with originating location, the originating device, the at least one receiving device, or a combination thereof,
wherein the one or more metrics are based, at least in part, on the geographic distribution.
5. A method of claim 4, wherein the (1) data and/or (2) information and/or (3) at least one signal are further based, at least in part, on the following:
a rendering of a user interface to depict the geographic distribution, the one or more metrics, or a combination thereof.
6. A method of claim 5, wherein the user interface depicts, at least in part, (a) one or more paths of the geographic distribution; (b) an extent of the geographic distribution; (c) one or more locations of the originating device, the at least one receiving device, or a combination thereof; (d) the originating location; or (e) a combination thereof.
7. A method according to any of claims 3-6, wherein the (1) data and/or (2) information and/or (3) at least one signal are further based, at least in part, on the following:
a processing of the context information to determine a number of the at least one receiving device to which the message has been distributed,
wherein the one or more metrics are based, at least in part, on the number,
8. A method according to any of claims 3-7, wherein the (1 ) data and/or (2) information and/or (3) at least one signal are further based, at least in part, on the following:
at least one determination of one or more other messages carried by the originating device, the at least one receiving device, or a combination thereof, wherein the one or more messages are associated with the originating location, one or more other originating locations, or a combination thereof;
a processing of other context information associated with the one or more other messages to determine the one or more metrics.
9. A method according to any of claims 3-8, wherein the (1 ) data and/or (2) information and/or (3) at least one signal are further based, at least in part, on the following:
a limitation of a device storage capacity, a message discovery range, or a combination thereof of the message, one or more other messages, or a combination thereof at the originating device, the at least one receiving device, or a combination thereof.
10. A method of claim 9, wherein the (1) data and/or (2) information and/or (3) at least one signal are further based, at least in part, on the following:
at least on determination of the limitation based, at least in part, on the one or more metrics.
1 1. A method according to any of claims 1-10, wherein the (1 ) data and/or (2) information and/or (3) at least one signal are further based, at least in part, on the following:
commenting information associated with the message; and
an inclusion of the commenting information in metadata associated with the message, wherein the distribution of the first copy, the second copy, or a combination thereof includes at least in part the commenting information.
12. A method of claim 1 1 , wherein the (1) data and/or (2) information and/or (3) at least one signal are further based, at least in part, on the following:
a monitoring of the commenting information for one or more updates; and
at least one determination to the update the metadata, the message, the storage, the
distribution, or a combination thereof based, at least in part, on the one or more updates.
13. A method according to any of claims 1 1 and 12, wherein the (1) data and/or (2) information and/or (3) at least one signal are further based, at least in part, on the following: at least one determination of a number of the originating device, the at least one receiving device, or a combination thereof carrying the message; and
an inclusion of the number in the metadata.
14. A method of claim 13, wherein the ( 1 ) data and/or (2) information and/or (3) at least one signal are further based, at least in part, on the following:
a deletion of the message when the number is below a threshold value.
15. A method according to any of claims 1 1-14, wherein the (1) data and/or (2) information and/or (3) at least one signal are further based, at least in part, on the following:
extent information associated with the distribution; and
an inclusion of the extent information in the metadata.
16. A method of claim 15, wherein the extent information includes, at least in part, a spreading radius, a spreading distance, a spreading speed, a hop count, or a combination thereof.
17. A method according to any of claims 1 - 16, wherein the (1) data and/or (2) information and/or (3) at least one signal are further based, at least in part, on the following:
a generation of one or more alerts regarding the message based, at least in part, the proximity of the at least one receiving device.
18. A method of claim 17, wherein the one or more alerts relate to an availability of the message, the originating device, one or more other messages, one or more other originating devices, or a combination thereof.
19. A method according to any of claims 1 - 18, wherein the (1) data and/or (2) information and/or (3) at least one signal are further based, at least in part, on the following:
at least one determination of the proximity of the at least one receiving device based, at least in part, on location information associated with one or more proxy devices.
20. A method of claim 19, wherein the one or more proxy devices are associated with the at least one receiving device via at least one social network.
21. A method according to any of claims 1 -20, wherein the distribution is via a peer-to-peer communication protocol, a client-server communication protocol, or a combination thereof.
22. A method comprising:
causing, at least in part, an association of a first copy of a message with an originating
location;
causing, at least in part, a storage of a second copy of the message in an originating device; and
causing, at least in part, a distribution of the first copy, the second copy, or a combination thereof to at least one receiving device based, at least in part, on when the at least one receiving device is within proximity of the originating location, the originating device, or a combination thereof.
23. A method of claim 22, further comprising:
determining to transmit the first copy, the second copy, or a combination thereof from the at least one receiving device to at least one other receiving device based, at least in part, on when the at least one other receiving device is within proximity of the at least one receiving device.
24. A method according to any of claims 22 and 23, further comprising:
processing and/or facilitating a processing of context information associated with the
originating location, the originating device, the at least one receiving device, or a combination thereof to determine one or more metrics associated with a quality, a distribution, or a combination thereof of the message.
25. A method of claim 24, further comprising:
processing and/or facilitating a processing of the context information to determine a
geographic distribution of the message based, at least in part, on location information associated with originating location, the originating device, the at least one receiving device, or a combination thereof, wherein the one or more metrics are based, at least in part, on the geographic distribution.
26. A method of claim 25, further comprising:
causing, at least in part, a rendering of a user interface to depict the geographic distribution, the one or more metrics, or a combination thereof.
27. A method of claim 26, wherein the user interface depicts, at least in part, (a) one or more paths of the geographic distribution; (b) an extent of the geographic distribution; (c) one or more locations of the originating device, the at least one receiving device, or a combination thereof; (d) the originating location; or (e) a combination thereof.
28. A method according to any of claims 24-27, further comprising:
processing and/or facilitating a processing of the context information to determine a number of the at least one receiving device to which the message has been distributed, wherein the one or more metrics are based, at least in part, on the number.
29. A method according to any of claims 24-28, further comprising:
determining one or more other messages carried by the originating device, the at least one receiving device, or a combination thereof, wherein the one or more messages are associated with the originating location, one or more other originating locations, or a combination thereof;
processing and/or facilitating a processing of other context information associated with the one or more other messages to determine the one or more metrics.
30. A method according to any of claims 24-29, further comprising:
causing, at least in part, a limitation of a device storage capacity, a message discovery range, or a combination thereof of the message, one or more other messages, or a combination thereof at the originating device, the at least one receiving device, or a combination thereof.
3 1. A method of claim 30, further comprising:
determining the limitation based, at least in part, on the one or more metrics.
32. A method according to any of claims 22-31 , further comprising:
determining commenting information associated with the message; and
causing, at least in part, an inclusion of the commenting information in metadata associated with the message,
wherein the distribution of the first copy, the second copy, or a combination thereof includes at least in part the commenting information,
33. A method of claim 32, further comprising:
causing, at least in part, a monitoring of the commenting information for one or more updates; and
determining to the update the metadata, the message, the storage, the distribution, or a
combination thereof based, at least in part, on the one or more updates.
34. A method according to any of claims 32 and 33, further comprising:
determining a number of the originating device, the at least one receiving device, or a
combination thereof carrying the message; and
causing, at least in part, an inclusion of the number in the metadata.
35. A method of claim 34, further comprising:
causing, at least in part, a deletion of the message when the number is below a threshold
value.
36. A method according to any of claims 32-35, further comprising:
determining extent information associated with the distribution; and
causing, at least in part, an inclusion of the extent information in the metadata.
37. A method of claim 36, wherein the extent information includes, at least in part, a spreading radius, a spreading distance, a spreading speed, a hop count, or a combination thereof.
38. A method according to any of claims 22-37, further comprising:
causing, at least in part, a generation of one or more alerts regarding the message based, at least in part, the proximity of the at least one receiving device.
39. A method of claim 38, wherein the one or more alerts relate to an availability of the message, the originating device, one or more other messages, one or more other originating devices, or a combination thereof.
40. A method according to any of claims 22-39, further comprising:
determining the proximity of the at least one receiving device based, at least in part, on
location information associated with one or more proxy devices.
41. A method of claim 40, wherein the one or more proxy devices are associated with the at least one receiving device via at least one social network,
42. A method according to any of claims 22-41 , wherein the distribution is via a peer-to- peer communication protocol, a client-server communication protocol, or a combination thereof.
43. An apparatus comprising:
at least one processor; and
at least one memory including computer program code for one or more programs, the at least one memory and the computer program code configured to, with the at least one processor, cause the apparatus to perform at least the following,
cause, at least in part, an association of a first copy of a message with an originating location; cause, at least in part, a storage of a second copy of the message in an originating device; and
cause, at least in part, a distribution of the first copy, the second copy, or a combination thereof to at least one receiving device based, at least in part, on when the at least one receiving device is within proximity of the originating location, the originating device, or a combination thereof.
44. An apparatus of claim 43, wherein the apparatus is further caused to:
determine to transmit the first copy, the second copy, or a combination thereof from the at least one receiving device to at least one other receiving device based, at least in part, on when the at least one other receiving device is within proximity of the at least one receiving device.
45. An apparatus according to any of claims 43 and 44, wherein the apparatus is further caused to:
process and/or facilitate a processing of context information associated with the originating location, the originating device, the at least one receiving device, or a combination thereof to determine one or more metrics associated with a quality, a distribution, or a combination thereof of the message.
46. An apparatus of claim 45, wherein the apparatus is further caused to:
process and/or facilitate a processing of the context information to determine a geographic distribution of the message based, at least in part, on location information associated with originating location, the originating device, the at least one receiving device, or a combination thereof,
wherein the one or more metrics are based, at least in part, on the geographic distribution.
47. An apparatus of claim 46, wherein the apparatus is further caused to:
cause, at least in part, a rendering of a user interface to depict the geographic distribution, the one or more metrics, or a combination thereof.
48. An apparatus of claim 47, wherein the user interface depicts, at least in part, (a) one or more paths of the geographic distribution; (b) an extent of the geographic distribution; (c) one or more locations of the originating device, the at least one receiving device, or a combination thereof; (d) the originating location; or (e) a combination thereof.
49. An apparatus according to any of claims 45-48, wherein the apparatus is further caused to:
process and/or facilitate a processing of the context information to determine a number of the at least one receiving device to which the message has been distributed,
wherein the one or more metrics are based, at least in part, on the number.
50. An apparatus according to any of claims 45-49, wherein the apparatus is further caused to:
determine one or more other messages carried by the originating device, the at least one receiving device, or a combination thereof, wherein the one or more messages are associated with the originating location, one or more other originating locations, or a combination thereof;
process and/or facilitate a processing of other context information associated with the one or more other messages to determine the one or more metrics.
51. An apparatus according to any of claims 45-50, wherein the apparatus is further caused to:
cause, at least in part, a limitation of a device storage capacity, a message discovery range, or a combination thereof of the message, one or more other messages, or a combination thereof at the originating device, the at least one receiving device, or a combination thereof.
52. An apparatus of claim 51 , wherein the apparatus is further caused to:
determine the limitation based, at least in part, on the one or more metrics.
53. An apparatus according to any of claims 43-52, wherein the apparatus is further caused to:
determine commenting information associated with the message; and
cause, at least in part, an inclusion of the commenting information in metadata associated with the message,
wherein the distribution of the first copy, the second copy, or a combination thereof includes at least in part the commenting information.
54. An apparatus of claim 53, wherein the apparatus is further caused to:
cause, at least in part, a monitoring of the commenting information for one or more updates; and
determine to the update the metadata, the message, the storage, the distribution, or a
combination thereof based, at least in part, on the one or, more updates.
55. An apparatus according to any of claims 53 and 54, wherein the apparatus is further caused to:
determine a number of the originating device, the at least one receiving device, or a
combination thereof carrying the message; and
cause, at least in part, an inclusion of the number in the metadata.
56. An apparatus of claim 55, wherein the apparatus is further caused to:
cause, at least in part, a deletion of the message when the number is below a threshold value.
57. An apparatus according to any of claims 53-56, wherein the apparatus is further caused to:
determine extent information associated with the distribution; and
cause, at least in part, an inclusion of the extent information in the metadata.
58. An apparatus of claim 57, wherein the extent information includes, at least in part, a spreading radius, a spreading distance, a spreading speed, a hop count, or a combination thereof.
59. An apparatus according to any of claims 43- 8, wherein the apparatus is further caused to:
cause, at least in part, a generation of one or more alerts regarding the message based, at least in part, the proximity of the at least one receiving device.
60. An apparatus of claim 59, wherein the one or more alerts relate to an availability of the message, the originating device, one or more other messages, one or more other originating devices, or a combination thereof.
61. An apparatus according to any of claims 43-60, wherein the apparatus is further caused to:
determine the proximity of the at least one receiving device based, at least in part, on location information associated with one or more proxy devices.
62. An apparatus of claim 61 , wherein the one or more proxy devices are associated with the at least one receiving device via at least one social network.
63. An apparatus according to any of claims 43-62, wherein the distribution is via a peer- to-peer communication protocol, a client-server communication protocol, or a combination thereof.
64. An apparatus according to any of claims 43-63, wherein the apparatus is a mobile phone further comprising:
user interface circuitry and user interface software configured to facilitate user control of at least some functions of the mobile phone through use of a display and configured to respond to user input; and
a display and display circuitry configured to display at least a portion of a user interface of the mobile phone, the display and display circuitry configured to facilitate user control of at least some functions of the mobile phone.
65. A computer-readable storage medium carrying one or more sequences of one or more instructions which, when executed by one or more processors, cause an apparatus to perform at least a method of any of claims 22-42.
66. An apparatus comprising means for performing a method of any of claims 22-42.
67. An apparatus of claim 66, wherein the apparatus is a mobile phone further comprising: user interface circuitry and user interface software configured to facilitate user control of at least some functions of the mobile phone through use of a display and configured to respond to user input; and
a display and display circuitry configured to display at least a portion of a user interface of the mobile phone, the display and display circuitry configured to facilitate user control of at least some functions of the mobile phone.
68. A computer program product including one or more sequences of one or more instructions which, when executed by one or more processors, cause an apparatus to at least perform the steps of a method of any of claims 22-42.
69. A method comprising facilitating access to at least one interface configured to allow access to at least one service, the at least one service configured to perform a method of any of claims 22-42.
70. A method comprising facilitating a processing of and/or processing (1) data and/or (2) information and/or (3) at least one signal, the (1) data and/or (2) information and/or (3) at least one signal based, at least in part, on the method of any of claims 22-42.
71. A method comprising facilitating creating and/or facilitating modifying (1) at least one device user interface element and/or (2) at least one device user interface functionality, the (1) at least one device user interface element and/or (2) at least one device user interface functionality based, at least in part, on the method of any of claims 22-42.
PCT/CN2011/078400 2011-08-15 2011-08-15 Method and apparatus for providing location-based message distribution WO2013023351A1 (en)

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