Lest you think that’s somehow not important, the patent arguably covers many aspects of instant messaging, including buddy lists and group broadcast. Unbelievable stuff.
A system for real-time, communication between a plurality of separated users comprising at least one communication device for use by each of the plurality of users and having an associated display, at least one communication network to which at least first and second users can connect by logging in at their respective communication devices.
Further included are at least one service record for the first and second logged in users, the at least one service record including user identification information and an associated location where each user is logged in. Computer software also is provided for causing display of a user identifier for at least the second user on the display of at least the first user’s communication device, and generating a signal in response to a user selecting the displayed second user’s identifier.
Further, there is collaboration initiation software that functions to cause the retrieving of necessary addressing information of the second user, and to cause the establishing of a connection between the first and second users, and thereby to enable real-time communication, including video images of at least one user and real-time text messages to be displayed on the display of at least one user.