‘C is for Cookies’ Patented

cookie_monster.jpgMicrosoft has been awarded a patent they applied for in 2000 to extend the functionality of cookies and web beacons. Trouble is, I really can’t discern where the originality in this concept lies – thousands of web sites do this every day. Ars Technica (quote below) suggests the focus may be on the addition of an API to these ‘permanent cookies’ – of course how permanent can any file be on any computer device for a savvy user?

Provide developers with an Application Program Interface (API) which can be called from languages such as JavaScript, ASP, and VBScript. The permanent cookie can contain four data types consisting of bits, counters, dates, and strings. In the patent description, Microsoft also notes that the cookie is flexible enough to allow for new data types in the future.

M-Dollar: Microsoft patents the super cookie

The patent itself is lengthy and obtuse, but I wonder what’s really ‘new’ in here. The abstract suggests that it’s the application of the cookie info to what content a user is presented on subsequent visits; I believe that’s been done in many forms by many web sites using cookies and databases in the past. 

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