It seems that Google is trying to breathe life into its failing Google+ social network with a new patent on its System and Method for Generating a Ghost Profile for a Social Network.
Considering the waning popularity of Google latest social platform, it seems that they are desperate to get anyone they can use it. Google+ hopes that by non-users being able to create an unsearchable ghost profile they can get &non-believers" (yikes! their words not mine) to participate in social networking without providing any end-user information.
The abstract for the patent reads:
The ghost profile allows a user to use certain features in a social network without converting to a social network profile. Specifically, the ghost profiles are unsearchable and comments that originate from a ghost profile user are displayed as partial names.
The ghost profile is generated when a member of the social network invites a user to join. In one example, the member is automatically added as a friend to the user’s ghost profile.
The premise is that some people are opposed to using social networking. When a user of a social network has a friend that is not on the network, or is opposed to or otherwise has no interest in social networking, the second group misses out on an important social component. If the friend on the network site wants to share some photos with this person, the other is forced to either join the network to view them or simply miss out on being able to view them.