Method and apparatus for providing group interaction via communications networks

  • US 7,124,164 B1
  • Filed: 04/17/2001
  • Issued: 10/17/2006
  • Est. Priority Date: 04/17/2001
  • Status: Active Grant
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First Claim
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1. A server for communicating content between a group of networked client computers over a communications medium and displaying communications flows identifying a content originator an a content receiver, said server comprising:

  • a memory;

    a processor storing and retrieving instructions from said memory;

    a network interface operably connecting said processor to the communications medium;

    a communications module receiving content from an originating computer and transmitting said content to at least one target computer;

    a graphical communication flow module integrated with said communications module and providing to each of the client computers a graphical representation of a group of networked computers, said graphical communication flow module graphically depicting communication flows showing the originating and target computer users corresponding to each content transmission by said communications interface, and having means to graphically depict the intended target of a communication flow in a manner visible to users of all the computers connected to a virtual group;

    wherein the graphical communications flow module has means to graphically depict that a communications flow is intended by an originator to target all computer users connected to the group of networked computers who are participating a virtual meeting of the virtual group;

    wherein the graphical communications flow module has means to graphically depict the originators and targets of more than one communications flow occurring simultaneously between computer users participating in the group meeting;

    wherein the graphical communications flow module has means to enable the originating users to graphically distinguish between communications flows that they intend to be primary and communications flows that they intend to be secondary;

    wherein the graphical communications flow module has means to enable an originator to transmit a hidden communications flow to only one target, while indicating the originator and target of the hidden communications flow in a manner perceptible to all users participating in the group meeting.

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