06433795 is referenced by 88 patents.
A system and method for integrating an on-line service community with a foreign service such as the Internet World Wide Web. To take advantage of the present invention, on-line service subscribers access a membership module to complete a membership process in which they join communities each of which represents a specific area of interest. The present invention operates as an extension to a user's preferred Web browser and is manifested as a toolbar comprised of control buttons and a viewer on a computer user's screen. By interacting with the control buttons of the toolbar and the menus of the viewer, on-line service content is delivered to the user in response to the URLs specified by the user as he or she browses the Web. In addition, control buttons on the toolbar present opportunities for interacting with other community members. Although the user may change URLs and Web sites frequently, the present invention maintains a context—via a persistent connection between a Community Server at the on-line service and a Community Client on the user's computer—for the user's interactions so that on-line service content may be presented and interactions with other community members facilitated. The benefit of the present invention for end-users is a transformation of the Web to a community.