Amazon Patents Social Networking in 2008 ?

Does this sound familiar to you ?

A networked computer system provides various services for assisting users in locating, and establishing contact relationships with, other users. For example, in one embodiment, users can identify other users based on their affiliations with particular schools or other organizations. The system also provides a mechanism for a user to selectively establish contact relationships or connections with other users, and to grant permissions for such other users to view personal information of the user. The system may also include features for enabling users to identify contacts of their respective contacts. In addition, the system may automatically notify users of personal information updates made by their respective contacts.

It’s the introduction to a patent by Amazon for their obviously unique idea of a “Social Networking System” which includes such strikingly novel ideas such as:

wherein the service maintains relationship data representing contact relationships between users, and the method further comprises using the relationship data to detect, and to cause the first user to be notified that, a third user is a contact of a contact of the first user via the second user.

and:

wherein the personal data of the first user comprises an identification of a school attended by the first user and an associated date range of attendance, and the computer system is additionally programmed to use said personal data to identify, and to inform the first user of, other users of the service who attended said school in said date range.

None of which existed before the patent was filed in 2008, honest guv…

Hello USPTO ? Anyone in there ?

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