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Patent Searching and Data


Title:
LOOP BEACONS
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2007/005735
Kind Code:
A3
Abstract:
A loop beacon enables recording the activity of a user of an electronic device during the display of a given medium in a display loop. A display loop can present a particular medium not only in a static form, but also in a moving or looping display that evolves in time. In some embodiments, the invention herein disclosed detects user actions during a time period associated with an ephemerally displayed medium in a loop, and records and reports the user action.

Inventors:
LEE PRESCOTT (US)
MASHIMA KYLE (US)
YING CHARLES (US)
Application Number:
US2006/025820
Publication Date:
April 16, 2009
Filing Date:
June 30, 2006
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
FILMLOOP INC (US)
LEE PRESCOTT (US)
MASHIMA KYLE (US)
YING CHARLES (US)
International Classes:
G06Q30/00; G07G1/14
Foreign References:
US6904408B12005-06-07
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
COLBY, Steven et al. (2200 Geng RoadPalo Alto, CA, US)
Download PDF:
Claims:

CLAMS

What is claimed is:

1. A method comprising:

detecting a user activity occurring within a time period associated with

display of a commercial message in a loop;

recording the detection of the user activity in association with the

commercial message;

reporting a beacon to an accounting module, the beacon including a

report of the detection; and

counting the number of beacons associated with the commercial

message over a period of time.

2. The method of claim 1, wherein the detecting user activity includes

detecting the movement of a cursor within a display.

3. The method of claim 1, wherein the detecting user activity includes

detecting a keystroke or sensing motion.

4. The method of claim 1, wherein the commercial message is one of a

plurality of media presented in the loop.

5. The method of claim 1, wherein the detecting user activity includes

scanning a human retina or detecting a human voice.

6. The method of claim 1, wherein the user activity is associated with the

loop.

7. The method of claim 1, wherein the time period comprises time before

the commercial message is displayed.

8. The method of claim 1, wherein the time period comprises time after

the commercial message is displayed.

9. The method of claim 1, wherein the beacon comprises an identifier of

the commercial message.

10. The method of claim 1, wherein the beacon comprises a data packet.

11. The method of claim 1, wherein the accounting module comprises a

server.

12. The method of claim 1, further comprising billing a provider of the

commercial message responsive to a number of beacons associated with the

commercial message received by the accounting module.

13. The method of claim 1, further storing beacon information.

14. A system comprising:

a media engine configured to run on a client and for displaying a

commercial message amongst a plurality of media presented in a loop;

an activity detection system configured for detecting user activity

occurring within a time period related to the display of the commercial

message in the loop;

a recording system configured for recording the detection of user

activity in association with the commercial message; and

a reporting system for reporting a beacon to an accounting module, the

accounting module being configured to count the number of beacons

associated with the commercial message.

15. The system of claim 14, wherein the detection system is configured to

detect the movement of a cursor within a display of the client.

16. The system of claim 14, wherein the detection system is configured to

detect a keystroke.

17. The system of claim 14, wherein the detection system is configured to

detect a human voice or a human retina.

18. The system of claim 14, wherein the user activity is associated with the

loop.

19. The system of claim 14, wherein the user activity is not associated with

the loop.

20. The system of claim 14, wherein the time period comprises time before

or after the commercial message is displayed.

21. The system of claim 14, wherein the user activity comprises a cursor

movement over the loop.

22. The system of claim 14, wherein the beacon comprises an identifier of

the commercial message.

23. The system of claim 14, wherein the beacon comprises a packet.

24. The system of claim 14, wherein the accounting module comprises a

server.

25. The system of claim 14, wherein the accounting module is configured

to bill a provider of the commercial message according to a number of

beacons associated with the commercial message received by the accounting

module.

26. The system of claim 14 wherein the reporting system is further

configured to track beacon information.

27. A computer readable medium having stored thereupon computer

code, the computer code comprising:

a code segment configured for detecting user activity occurring within

a time period related to a display of a commercial message in a loop;

a code segment configured for recording the detection of the user

activity in association with the commercial message; and

a code segment configured for reporting a beacon to an accounting

module such that the accounting module can count the number of beacons

associated with the commercial message.

28. The computer readable medium of claim 27, wherein the detecting user

activity includes detecting a movement of a cursor within a display.

29. The computer readable medium of claim 27, wherein the detecting user

activity includes detecting a keystroke.

30. The computer readable medium of claim 27, wherein the detecting user

activity includes detecting a movement of a cursor over the loop.

31. The computer readable medium of claim 27, wherein the detecting user

activity includes scanning a human retina or detecting a human voice.

32. The computer readable medium of claim 27, further comprising billing

a provider of the commercial message according to a number of beacons

associated with the commercial message received by the accounting module.

33. The computer readable medium of claim 27, wherein the time period

includes time before the commercial message is displayed.

34. The computer readable medium of claim 27, wherein the time period

includes time after the commercial message is displayed.

35. The computer readable medium of claim 27, wherein the beacon

comprises an identifier of the commercial message.

36. The computer readable medium of claim 27, further comprising billing

a provider of the commercial message according to a number of beacons

associated with the commercial message received by the accounting module

and type of user activity detected.

37. The computer readable medium of claim 27, further comprising a code

segment configured to track beacon information.

Description:

LOOP BEACONS

By Prescott Lee, Kyle Mashima, and Charles Ying

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION Field of the Invention

[001] The invention disclosed herein is in the field of computer science, and more specifically in the field of monitoring user interactions with a display interface.

Description of Related Art

[002] In the modern electronic age, many people are accustomed to exchanging data in various manners. Users of computing devices share information via personal digital assistants (PDAs), cellular telephones (cell phones), laptop computers, and so on. Information is frequently shared among device-users who present visual and/or audio media to other users. For example, a user can take a snapshot of a subject and send that snapshot to friends via the user's cell phone.

[003] Conventionally, media are communicated from one user to another user through a series of steps. For instance, the user may access a file in a directory on the user's computing device to locate the media the user wishes to share with the other user. Once the user locates the media, the user typically right-clicks on the media and selects an option, such as "send picture by electronic mail to," in the case of an image. When the "send picture by electronic mail to" option is selected, an electronic mail window opens in which the user can enter text and select send to send the image to the other user. Alternatively, the user may open an electronic mail window and attach the image, or other type of media file, and send an electronic mail message along with the attachment to the other user. The process of communicating media from one computing device to another can take several minutes

because of the number of steps involved in locating, addressing, and sending the media to specified users.

[004] However, with the improved performance of contemporary computing devices, users expect immediacy in sending and receiving media. While computing devices' performance is at an all-time high, users still require fewer steps for performing certain tasks. Therefore, there is a need for improved multimedia interactive devices.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[005] Various embodiments of the invention include novel methods, systems and computer-readable media for the use of a beacon in monitoring the activity of a user of an electronic device during a time period associated with the displa j r of a particular medium in a displayed loop. A loop displays particular media inconstantly, e.g., at various times and for various durations. In some embodiments, it is desirable for an accounting module associated with the display loop to be able to detect, record and report the exposure of a potential viewer to particular media, for example, as when a potential viewer interacts with the displaying device while a commercial medium is displayed. Unlike art that simply counts clicks upon steadily displayed advertisements, the loop beacon addresses the challenge of accounting for user interactions with loop displays that evolve in time. In some embodiments, beacon information may be used to target advertisements to the user. [006] An exemplary method can comprise detecting a user activity occurring within a time period associated with display of a commercial message in a loop, recording the detection of the user activity in association with the commercial message, reporting a beacon to an accounting module, the beacon including a report of the detection, and counting the number of beacons associated with the commercial message over a period of time. [007] An exemplary system can comprise a media engine configured to run on a client and for displaying a commercial message amongst a plurality of media presented in a loop, an activity detection system configured for detecting user activity occurring within a time period related to the display of the commercial message in the loop, a recording system configured for recording the detection of user activity in association with the commercial message, and a reporting system for reporting a beacon to an accounting module, the accounting module being configured to count the number of beacons associated with the commercial message.

[008] A computer readable medium may comprise a computer code. The computer code can comprise a code segment configured for detecting user activity occurring within a time period related to a display of a commercial message in a loop, a code segment configured for recording the detection of the user activity in association with the commercial message, and a code segment configured for reporting a beacon to an accounting module such that the accounting module can count the number of beacons associated with the commercial message.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[009] FIG. 1 illustrates an exemplary environment for providing single-act media-sharing in accordance with various embodiments. [0010] FIG. 2 illustrates an exemplary diagram for a client having a media application in accordance with various embodiments.

[0011] FIG. 3 illustrates exemplary components associated with the server in accordance with various embodiments.

[0012] FIG. 4 illustrates an exemplary flow diagram for single-act media- sharing in accordance with various embodimenta.

[0013] FIG. 5 illustrates another exemplary flow diagram for sharing media in response to the single act by the user in accordance with various embodiments.

[0014] FIG. 6 illustrates an exemplary graphical user interface in accordance with various embodiments.

[0015] FIG. 7 illustrates an exemplary screenshot of a loop in accordance with various embodiments.

[0016] FIG. 8 illustrates an exemplary system for providing content to a loop in accordance with various embodiments.

[0017] FIG. 9 illustrates an exemplary method of using a signal beacon to account for likely viewing of commercial media.

DESCRIPTION OF EXEMPLARY EMBODIMENTS [0018] A loop is provided for displaying media in association with a computing device related to a user. The user may select various media to display using the loop. In various embodiments, the loop comprises a Filmloop™. A loop is an automatically moving interactive display of a plurality of media. The media may be consecutive and/or sequential. The interactive display may move continuously.

[0019] The loop may scroll the media across a display device associated with the computing device, or across any other display associated with any type of device. The loop may scroll the media vertically, horizontally, or at any angle across the display device. According to various embodiments, the media selected by the user for the loop may be shared with one or more other users at one or more other computing devices when the user drags the media to the loop, if the one or more other users share the same loop on their respective computing devices. Various other features associated with the loop are described herein.

[0020] FIG. 1 illustrates an exemplary environment for providing single-act media-sharing. A user is associated with a client 102. The client 102 includes any type of computing device, such as a cellular telephone, a laptop computer, a personal digital assistant (PDA), and so on. The client 102 has a media engine 104 coupled to the client 102 for creating and/or generating at least one loop(s) 106. The media engine 104 may also play the loop(s) 106. A loop player comprises the graphical representation of the media engine 104. [0021] The loop(s) 106 may be comprised of various media 108. The media 108 can include photos, video, audio, images, text, advertisements, and/or any other type of media. The media 108 may appear as one or more items separated by lines, frames, or any other display item for defining the one or more items of the media 108 as separate from each other on the loop. Each

frame of the media 108 may itself include moving displays, motion pictures, and so forth.

[0022] In various embodiments, the loop(s) 106 scrolls, or is otherwise played, across a display associated with the client 102. In some embodiments, the loop(s) 106 may be manipulated by a user of the client 102 to stop, speed up, or slow down the scrolling of the loop(s) 106, and/or any other type of manipulation. The client 102 may have more than one loop(s) 106 that scroll across the display at one time. Further, the client 102 may have various loop(s) 106 that play at one time and/or are stored at the client 102 to be played at a time chosen by the user associated with the client 102. The user may also play more than one loop(s) 106, such as playing the loop(s) 106 sequentially, in a single media engine 104.

[0023] The media engine 104 may reside on the client 102 or may be otherwise coupled to the client 102. Alternatively, the media engine 104 may be accessible to the client 102 via a network, such as the network 110 shown in FIG. 1. For example, one or more clients 102 may access the media engine 104 via a network in order to create the loop(s) 106, update the loop(s) 106 with additional media 108, remove certain of the media 1OS from the loop(s) 106, alter metadata associated with the loop(s) 106, modify the media 108 or metadata associated with the media 1OS contained in the loop(s) 106, play the loop(s) 106, and/or perform any other functions utilizing the media engine 104.

[0024] In exemplary embodiments, the identifier assigned to the media 108 may be unique within the loop(s) 106. Further, the loop(s) 106 identifier and/or the media 108 identifier is unique within the network 110, according to exemplary embodiments. Any type of identifiers may be assigned to the loop(s) 106 and/or the media 108 according to various embodiments. [0025] The media engine 104 may be utilized, as discussed herein, to create the loop(s) 106 using the media 108. Typically, the user at the client 102

selects the media 108 from files located on the client 102 and/or from media 108 available via the network 110. For example, the user may search for and provide photos found on the Internet to the media engine 104. The media engine 104 receives the media 108 and creates the loop(s) 106 with the media 108. The user can provide more than one item of the media 1OS to the media engine 104 for creating or modifying loop(s) 106.

[0026] The user can provide the media 108 by dragging and dropping the media 108 into the media engine 104, by initiating a command that the media 108 be used to create a new loop(s) 106 and/or modify an existing loop 106, and/or any other method of identifying the media 108 as part of the loop(s) 106. In exemplary embodiments, the user can drag a file or a folder including more than one item of the media 108 into the loop(s) 106. [0027] The media engine 104 may assign an identifier to each of the loop(s) 106. The media engine 104 may further assign an identifier to each of the media 108 in the loop(s) 106. For example, the media engine 104 may assign an identifier to a loop(s) 106 that is newly created and may also assign identifiers to each of the media 108 used to create the new loop(s) 106. In various embodiments, the media 108 may receive the same or similar identifier as the loop(s) 106 to which the media 108 belongs. [0028] The loop(s) 106 may be stored by category, dates associated with the media 108 included in the loop(s) 106, metadata associated with the loop(s) 106, or any other criteria. The criteria may be provided to the user as a default and/or the user can specify criteria for storing and/or playing the loop(s) 106. For example, in various embodiments, the user may specify that the loop(s) 106 should be played one at a time, one per day, according to a particular subject matter (e.g. such as family photo loop(s) 106, followed by fan club loop(s) 106, followed by work oriented loop(s) 106), and so forth. Any method for playing the loop(s) 106 is within the scope of various embodiments.

[0029] When the user drags and drops one or more items of the media 108 into a particular loop 106, the user is requesting that the media engine 104 modify the particular loop(s) 106 by adding the one or more items of the media 108. Accordingly, the media engine 104 assigns an identifier that is unique within the loop 106 to each of the items of the media 108 dropped by the user.

[0030] As discussed herein, the media 108 may be added to more than one loop(s) 106. Accordingly, the media 108 may have more than one identifier associated with the media 108 in order to identify the one or more loop(s) 106 which contain the media 108.

[0031] In order to add the media 108 to a loop 106 without using the drag and drop method, the user can identify the media 108 to be added and subsequently include the media 108 into the loop(s) 106 of the media engine 104. For example, the user may copy the media 108 from outside of the loop(s) 106. Subsequently, the user may paste the media 108 into the loop(s) 106. The user can identify the loop 106 according to the loop's 106 identifier, by subject matter, and/or by any other criteria that indicates to the media engine 104 which loop 106 should receive the media 108 being provided by the user.

[0032] The user can remove media 108 from a loop 106 by dragging the media 108 out of the loop 106, or identifying to the media engine 104 the media 108 to remove. Any manner of identifying the media 108 the user desires to remove from a loop 106 is within the scope of various embodiments. For instance, the user can highlight the item of the media 108 within the loop 106 and select a remove option from a drop down menu. [0033] The media engine 104 updates the loop 106 to reflect the removal of the media 108. The media engine 104 may remove the identifiers associated with the removed media 108, or the media engine 104 can alter the metadata associated with the removed media 108. Conversely, as discussed herein, the

user can add the media 108 back into a loop 106 by dragging and dropping the media 108 into the loop 106 to which the user wishes to add the media 108 or by identifying the media 108 to the media engine 104 that the user wishes to add to the loop 106.

[0034] In various embodiments, the identifiers for the loop(s) 106 and/or the media 108 may be assigned by a server 112, such as an "application server." The server 112 may be accessed directly by the client 102 or via the network 110. The server 112 can communicate the identifiers for the loop(s) 106 and/or the media 1OS to the media engine 104, so the media engine 104 can store and locate the identifiers.

[0035] When the user removes, adds, or modifies an item of the media 108 from the loop 106, the server 112 can store and/or track the removals, additions, and/or modifications as updates to the loop 106. The user can also update the loop 106 by making changes to items of the media 108 in the loop 106. For example, if the user resizes an image of the media 108, the media engine 104 and/or the server 112 can include the resized image as an update to the media 108 in the loop 106. In one embodiment, the server 112 may assign the identifier to the resized image in the media 1OS and include the resized image as an update to the media 108 in the loop(s) 106. Any type of modifications to the media 108 and/or the loop 106 is within the scope of various embodiments.

[0036] In various embodiments, the user of the client 102 shares one or more of the loops 106 with one or more users of one or more other clients 114. The other clients 114 may also include one or more media engines for playing the loop(s) 106, creating the loop(s) 106, modifying the loop(s) 106, and so on. The server 112 assigns the same identifier to the loop(s) 106 shared by the client 102 and the client(s) 114.

[0037] When a user from the client 102 makes updates to the loop(s) 106 having an identifier shared by the loop(s) 106 at the client(s) 114, the client(s)

114 receive the same updates to the loop(s) 106. As discussed herein, the updates may include any modifications to the loop(s) 106 and/or the media 108 comprising the loop(s) 106.

[0038] The server 112 can provide the updates to the loop(s) 106 on the client(s) 114 automatically, at any time after the user at the client 102 makes updates to the loop(s) 106. In one embodiment, the server 112 makes requests to the media engine 104 at various times for changes made to the loop(s) 106 at the client 102. In one embodiment, the server 112 waits for notifications from the client(s) 114 of changes made to the loop(s) 106, then provides the updates to the client(s) 114 that have loops 106 with the same identifiers. Similarly, changes made by the client(s) 114 may be automatically provided to the client 102.

[0039] In various embodiments, the media engine 104 or any other component associated with the client 102 assigns a temporary identifier to the media 108 dragged into the loop 106. The client 102 then forwards the media 108 with the temporary identifier to the server 112. The server assigns a permanent identifier to the media 108 and forwards the media 108 with the permanent identifier back to the client 102 and/or to the other client(s) 114 as an update. The temporary identifier associated with the media 108 and/or the permanent identifier associated with the media 108 may further be associated with the identifier assigned to the loop(s) 106. Any type of method for assigning identifiers to the media 108 and/or the loop 106 may be employed by any device according to various embodiments.

[0040] The one or more users at the client(s) 114 may also make updates to the loop(s) 106 that have the same identifiers as the loop(s) 106 at the client 102. In one embodiment, the user that originates a shared loop 106 can create permissions for the loop 106. For instance, the originating user may require a password before other users can submit updates to the shared loop(s) 106.

[0041] Since the server 112 may automatically distribute the updates to the client(s) 102 and 114 with loop(s) 106 that have shared identifiers, only a single act is required by the user to share the updates to the loop(s) 106 with the users at the client(s) 102 and 114.

[0042] In one embodiment, users may subscribe to loop(s) 106. For example, the user at the client 102 may post movie oriented loop(s) 106 to the Internet and other users may subscribe to those movie oriented loop(s) 106 via a registration process. For the users that subscribe to the movie oriented loop(s) 106, updates are received when the originating user makes modifications to the movie oriented loop(s) 106. As discussed herein, a user, vendor, retailer, advertiser, etc. may make loop(s) 106 available for subscription. [0043] Once the loop(s) 106 have been set up by various users and assigned unique identifiers, the server 112 and/or the media engine 104 keeps track of the loop(s) 106 and any changes thereto. Accordingly, since the server 112 automatically distributes, or otherwise distributes, the updates to the client(s) 114 with the loop(s) 106 with shared identifiers based on the user at the client 102 modifying the loop(s) 106 by adding, removing, or changing one or more items of the media 108 within the loop(s) 106, only a single act is required by the user to share the updates to the loop(s) 106 with the users at the client(s) 114.

[0044] In one embodiment, master copies of the loop(s) 106 may be stored on the server 112. Accordingly, the user at the client 102 can modify the loop(s) 106 by accessing the server 112. The user may access the server 112 via the network 110 or in any other manner. Alternatively, the server 112 may include an index for locating the various loop(s). In another embodiment, the loop(s) 106 may be stored at the server 112, while the client 102 and/or the client(s) 114 utilize an index to retrieve particular loop(s) 106 when desired. Any storage medium may be utilized for storing the loop(s) 106, copies of the loop(s) 106, metadata, and/or indexes according to various embodiments.

[0045] In another embodiment, the server 112 may store the master copies of all the loop(s) 106 for all users along with the identifiers for the loop(s) 106 and the media 108. Accordingly, the server 112 can search for loop(s) 106 based on the identifiers, receive updates to the loop(s) 106 when users associated with the loop(s) 106 make changes to the loop(s) 106, and automatically distribute updates for the loop(s) 106 to all users associated with the loop(s) 106. In still another embodiment, the loop(s) 106 may be stored on the server 112 in order to minimize storage on the client 102 and/or the client(s) 114, as discussed herein.

[0046] In still another embodiment, the server 112 may store versions of the loop(s) 106. Accordingly, the server 112 may maintain various copies of the same loop(s) 106, as different versions. According to another embodiment, the client 102 and/or 114 may store different versions of loop(s) 106 generated by the client 102 or of shared loop(s) 106. The server 112 and/or the client 102 may maintain an index for organizing and tracking the various versions of the loop(s) 106 according to some embodiments.

[0047] In one embodiment, a content provider 116 is coupled to the server 112 in order to provide content for the loop(s) 106. The content provider 116 may be directly coupled to the server 114 or the content provider 116 may be coupled to the server 112 via the network 110. In various embodiments, the content provider 116 is coupled to the client 102 and/or the client(s) 114 in order to directly provide the content to the loop(s) stored on the client 102 and/or the client(s) 114.

[0048] In exemplary embodiments, the content provider 116 provides advertising content to the loop(s) 106. Alternately, the content provider 116 may provide any type of content. In one embodiment, each of the loops 106 include at least one item of the content from the content provider 116. More than one content provider 116 may be provided according to various

embodiments. Accordingly, the loop(s) 106 may display advertisements or other content along with the other media 108 displayed by the loop(s) 106. [0049] In one embodiment, the content provider 116 can specify how often the content appears within the loop(s) 106. For example, the content provider 116 may specify that the content should appear no less than between every 10th item of media 108 within the loop(s) 106. If the content provider 116 modifies the content, the server 112 or the content provider 116, itself, can distribute the modified content as updates to the loop(s) 106. Accordingly, the modified content replaces the existing content in the loop(s) 106. [0050] In one embodiment, digital content may be emailed to a central authority associated with the loop(s) 106. The central authority may then authenticate the user and distribute the digital content to appropriate loop(s) 106 and/or create new loop(s) 106 based on the digital content. The authentication may be based on username, password, and/or any other information related to the user submitting the digital content. [0051] Although the media engine 104 at the client 102 is described as creating the loop(s) 106 from the media 108, one or more media engines at the client(s) 114 can also provide the media 108 and create the loop(s) 106, modify the loop(s) 106, and so on. In other words the client 102 and the client(s) 114 are capable of performing similar or identical functions with respect to the loop(s) 106.

[0052] Referring to FIG. 2, a diagram for an exemplary media engine 104 is shown. A loop(s) control module 202 manipulates the media 108 (FIG. 1) and constructs the loop(s) 106 (FIG. 1) from the media 108. The loop(s) control module 202 provides a default speed at which the loop(s) 106 plays. In a further embodiment, a user can specify the speed for playing the loop(s) 106 or adjust the speed from the default speed. The loop(s) control module 202 may coordinate with the content provider 116 (FIG. 1) to insert specific content into the loop(s) 106 at specific times or in specific time intervals.

[0053] A player module 204 plays the loop(s) 106. The player module 204 may be utilized to control a direction and a speed at which the loop(s) 106 plays. The player module 204 may have a default direction, which may be changed by the user.

[0054] A display module 206 provides a graphical user interface (GUI) for allowing the user to interact with logic of the media engine 104. For instance, the display module 206 allows the user to interact with the media engine 104 to read and write the media 108. In other words, the display module 206 allows the user to create, modify, and/or remove the media 108 and/or the loop(s) 106 by choosing from on-screen selections and/or manipulating onscreen items. The display module 206 may also execute the media 108 from within a window, display the media 108 alone or as part of the loop(s) 106, and/or perform any functions related to display and user interaction with the display.

[0055] As discussed herein, the display module 206 allows the user to drag and drop the media 108 into the loop(s) 106 and remove the media 108 from the loop(s) 106. The user can drag and drop the media 108, click a button, or initiate a voice command to send the media 108 changes to the media engine 104.

[0056] Any type of display module 206 is within the scope of various embodiments. For instance, the display module 206 need not be a typical visual display, but may be a text-based display module for allowing the user to interact with the logic of the media engine 104 based on text command lines.

[0057] A media engine editor 208 allows the user to make adjustments to the media 108. For example, the user can use the media engine editor 208 to resize the media 108, rotate the media 108, configure the media 108, format the media 108, and so forth. For instance, the user may resize an image or

change the font type in text associated with the media 108. Any type of editing may be accomplished using the media engine editor 208.

[0058] A communication module 210 allows the media engine 104 to utilize the components of the client 102 for communicating with the server 112 to send and receive updates for the loop(s) 106 running in the media engine 104, and to transfer any other data between the media engine 104 and the server 112.

[0059] An electronic mail interface 212 may be provided as a communications interface for electronic mails. Any type of electronic mail interface 212 may be provided. The electronic mail interface 212 may be utilized for sending the loop(s) 106, the media 108, metadata, or identifiers associated with the loop(s) 106 and/or the media 108 directly other users.

[0060] A configuration database 214 may be utilized to store the one or more identifiers associated with the media 108 and/or the loop(s) 106. As discussed herein, when the loop(s) 106 is created using the media 108 or updates to the loop(s) 106 are provided, an identifier is assigned to the loop(s) 106 or the media 108. In further embodiments, the media 108 in the loop(s) 106 is assigned an identifier that is unique within the loop(s) 106.

[0061] The configuration database 214 may store any type of data related to the loop(s) 106, such as information regarding a host computer system, type and quality of an attached network, communications performance, registration information for the client 102, version number for the loop(s) 106 and the media 108 comprising the loop(s) 106. Any type of configuration database 214 may be utilized in accordance with various embodiments. As discussed herein, in various embodiments, the identifier is stored on the server 112 and/or in the configuration database 214. In alternative embodiments, the configuration database 214 may comprise more than a database. In yet a further embodiment, the configuration database 214 may

be located outside the media engine 104, but be coupled thereto. It should be noted that the configuration database 214 and the media database 216 may comprise a single database.

[0062] A media database 216 may be provided for storing the media 108. In one embodiment the content from the content provider 116 is stored in the media database 216. Any process for storing the media 108 may be utilized in association with the media database 216. For example, a hash function may be utilized to index and retrieve the media 108 in the media database 216 or from one or more other storage media.

[0063] Although the media engine 104 is described as including various components, the media engine 104 may include more components or fewer components than those listed and still fall within the scope of embodiments of the invention. For example, the media engine 104 may also include a media cache/buffer for short term storage of the media 108, an input/output (I/O) component for receiving and sending data at the client 102, a contact database for storing information associated with contacts, a user activ^ component for tracking activity of the user with respect to the media 108 and/or the loop(s) 106, and so forth.

[0064] FIG. 3 illustrates exemplary components associated with the server 112 in accordance with various embodiments. A delivery module 302 may be provided for delivering the loop(s) 106 (FIG. 1), and the media 108 (FIG. 1) that comprise the loop(s) 106, as well as the identifiers assigned to the loop(s) 106 and the media 108 to clients.

[0065] In one embodiment, the media 108 is provided to the media engine 104 for creating the loop(s) 106. The media engine 104 then requests the server 112 create the loop(s) 106 with the media 108. Alternatively, as discussed herein, the media engine 104, itself, may create the loop(s) 106. The server 112 and/or the media engine 104 can assign an identifier to the loop(s)

106 and to each of the one or more items of media 108 comprising the loop(s) 106. If the server 112 creates the loop(s) 106 or maintains a master copy of the loop(s) 106, the server 112 can deliver the loop(s) 106 to the media engine 104 via the network 110, as discussed herein. However, any manner of delivering the loop(s) 106 to the media engine 104 is within the scope of various embodiments.

[0066] A user database 304 may be provided for storing user information, such as first and last names, electronic mail addresses, user identifiers, and so on. The user database 304 may also store information associated with the loop(s) 106 that the user created or received from other users. Based on the identifiers from the loop(s) 106, the user database 304 can provide the media 108 as updates to the appropriate loop(s) 106 in the loop players 104 running on the client 102 or the client(s) 114. Optionally, a user may be required to register certain information with the server 112 before the server 112 will provide the loop(s) 106 with the media 108 to the media engine(s) 104 (FIG. 1) associated with the user. Alternatively, the user may be required to register in order to receive the identifier for the media 108 and/or the loop(s) 106.

[0067] A media database 306 may also be provided for storing the media 108, the loop(s) 106 and/or any metadata or configuration information associated with the loop(s) 106 and/or the media 108. As discussed herein, the media 108 and/or the loop(s) 106 may include, for example, multimedia, photographs, sounds, music, pictures, streaming media, animation, movies, and graphics. Any type of media 108 may comprise the loop(s) 106.

[0068] A media directory 308 may be provided for indexing the media 108 stored in the media database 306. For example, in various embodiments, the media directory 308 may allow the loop(s) 106 and/or media 108 to be retrieved that have the word "fishing" in their titles or descriptions. Any indexing and searching by the media directory 308 on any information or

metadata associated with the loop(s) 106 or the media 108 is within the scope of various embodiments.

[0069] A media update cache 310 stores the media 108 that is utilized to update, or otherwise modify, the loop(s) 106.

[0070] An electronic mail module 312 sends electronic mail for the user at the client 102 to the one or more other users at the client(s) 114, providing the users at the client(s) 114 with information for retrieving or constructing the loop(s) 106 and/or the media engine 104.

[0071] A server media editor 314 may be provided for modifying the media 108. The user can modify the media 108 utilizing the server media editor 314 via the server 112 rather than, or in addition to, the media engine editor 208 (FIG. 2). For example, the server media editor 314 may be used to resize photos, rotate photos, remove redeye from photos, correct color balance, cleanse the media 1OS of viruses, and so forth.

[0072] As discussed in FIG. 1, a content provider 116 may be coupled to the server 112. Alternatively, the function of the content provider 116 may be performed by a content delivery module 316 within the server 112. The content delivery module 316 provides advertising and/or any other type of content to be included as one or more items of the media 108 within the loop(s) 106.

[0073] In various embodiments, the advertising and/or content from the content delivery module 316 may be provided based on an analysis of the user of the loop(s) 106. For example, an advertisement for toothpaste may be provided to a user with family related loops 106. However, any manner of determining the advertising and/or the content to be provided by the content delivery module 316 to the loop(s) 106 may be employed, such as arbitrarily choosing the advertising and/or the content.

[0074] In one embodiment, the media 108 may comprise more than one advertising medium inserted into the loop(s) 106. As discussed herein, the content provider 116 and/or the content delivery module 316 may dictate how frequently the advertising media, or other content, appears. For instance, the advertising media may appear twice in the loop(s) 106, once for every five items of the media 108 in the loop(s) 106, and so on.

[0075] A commercial loop(s) 106 may also be created utilizing the content delivery module 316. The commercial loop(s) 106 may include media with embedded music, streaming video, audio, and/or other multimedia effects. A user may choose to allow the commercial loop(s) 106 to play on a screen associated with the user's client 102.

[0076] The server 112 may also include an accounting module 318. The accounting module 318 can track the media 108 within the loop(s) 106, and track the frequency and type of interaction each of the users has with the loop(s) 106 on the media 108. Specifically, the accounting module 318 is useful for tracking the interaction between the user and the advertisement media included within the loop(s) 106. Accordingly, the accounting module 318 can track monies due to a provider of the advertising media based on user interaction with the advertising media.

[0077] Although the server 112 has been described as including various components, fewer or more components may comprise the server 112 in accordance with various embodiments. For instance, the server 112 may also include a search engine component, or a communications interface.

[0078] FIG. 4 illustrates an exemplary flow diagram for single-act media- sharing. At step 402, a media selection is received from a user. The media selection may include adding new media, removing media, or modifying existing media, such as the media 108 discussed in FIG. 1

[0079] At step 404, in response to a single act performed by the user, a first loop having an associated identifier is modified by the media selection. As discussed herein, the user may initiate the single act via a button-push, a keystroke, a voice command, a drag-and-drop operation, and so forth. Any single act by the user for providing the media selection is within the scope of various embodiments. The user may provide the media selection to a loop player, such as the media engine 104 discussed in FIG. 1.

[0080] At step 406, the media selection is assigned an identifier associated with the first loop. The identifier assigned to the media selection may also be unique within the first loop. By assigning the identifier to the media selection that is unique within the first loop, the media engine 104 and/or the server 112 can associate the media selection with the first loop and any other loops sharing the identifier.

[0081] At step 408, the media selection is forwarded to a server that modifies a second loop with the same identifier as the identifier assigned to the first loop. In other words, the single act of the user sending the media selection to the media engine 104 shares the media selection with other users having second loops with identifiers shared with the first loop, once the other users download the updates from the server. As discussed herein, the client 102 may notify the server 112 of updates to the loop(s) 106, the server 112 may periodically check for updates, the other client(s) 114 may periodically request updates, and so forth. Any manner of obtaining and forwarding the updates is within the scope of various embodiments. For example, the client 102 may forward updates directly to the other client(s) 114 based on a notification from the server 112 that the other client(s) 114 need the updates.

[0082] In another embodiment, the server 112 may maintain an index of the loop(s) 106. When an update occurs, the server 112 may retrieve the update from the client 102 and forward the update to the other client(s) 114, or direct

the client 102 to forward the update to the other client(s) 114. According to another embodiment, the client 102 and/or the client(s) 114 may include server-oriented devices that can check for and forward the updates to the loop(s) 106 directly from the client 102 to the other client(s) 114, and vice versa.

[0083] In exemplary embodiments, the user at the client 102 provides the media selection, such as the media 1OS discussed in FIG. 1, to the media engine 104. The media engine 104 creates two copies of the media selection and saves, and/or caches, the two copies of the media selection. Either or both copies of the media selection may be saved to a storage medium, such as the media database 216 discussed in FIG. 2. Optionally, only one copy of the media selection is saved and/or cached.

[0084] The media engine 104 displays the first media selection on a screen associated with the client 102 as part of the loop(s) 106 being played. The media engine 104 creates and sends a second copy of the media selection to a server, such as the server 112 discussed in FIG. 1. The server 112 stores the second copy of the media selection in the media directory 308 (FIG. 3) and/or in the media update cache 310. The server 112 sends the second copy of the media selection to other users associated with the client(s) 114 if the identifier associated with the media selection (i.e., the copies of the media selection) and/or the first loop matches the identifier associated with the second loop(s) 106 at the client(s) 114. As discussed herein, according to some embodiments, the server 112 may assign a permanent identifier to the media selection to replace the temporary identifier assigned to the media selection by the client 102.

[0085] As discussed herein, the server 112 can create and send the second copy of the media selection to the client(s) 114 automatically, or in response to requests from the client(s) 114 for the second copy of the media selection (i.e.

the updates to the second loop(s) 106). Accordingly, the second loop(s) 106 is modified in response to a single action, or single act, by the user at the first client 102 interacting with the first loop(s) 106.

[0086] Referring to FIG. 5, another exemplary flow diagram for sharing media in response to the single act by the user is shown. At step 502, the server 112 receives one or more items of the media 108 from the media engine 104.

[0087] At step 504, the server 112 determines whether there is an existing loop(s) 106 with an identifier that matches the identifier associated with the media 108.

[0088] At step 506, if there is an existing loop(s) 106 that matches the identifier associated with the media 108, the server 112 updates the loop(s) 106 having the matching identifier with the media 108.

[0089] At step 508, the server 112 sends the media 108 with the matching identifier for the loop(s) 106 to the client(s) 114 making the requests for the updates. As discussed herein, the loop(s) 106 associated with the client(s) 114 is then updated with the media 108 having the matching identifier. Further, the media 108 may be forwarded to the client(s) 114 as updates based on requests from the client(s) 114 for updates, periodic pushes from the server 112 of updates, and/or notification by the client 102 that updates have occurred.

[0090] If, at step 504, the server 112 determines that there is not a loop(s) 106 with an identifier that matches identifier of the loop(s) 106 with the media 108, the server 112, at step 510, creates a new loop(s) 106 and assigns the same identifier to the new loop 106 and updates the new loop(s) 106 with the media 108. As discussed herein, the server 112 may communicate the identifier to

the configuration database 214 at the first client 102 for storage and/or reference.

[0091] In one embodiment, the media engine 104 assigns the same identifier to the media 108 and the new loop(s) 106 and communicates the identifier assigned to the server 112. The media engine 104 stores the identifier in the media database 216 or in the configuration database 214.

[0092] FIG. 6 illustrates an exemplary graphical user interface (GUI) engine 600 for providing access to functions related to the media engine 104 (FIG. 1). In one embodiment the GUI engine 600 is the display module 206 (FIG. 1). A media organizer 602 allows a user to organize the media 108 (FIG. 1) in the loop(s) 106 (FIG. 1). For example, the user can provide photos to the media organizer 602 via a drag and drop function, a keystroke, etc., and the media organizer 602 can automatically organize the photos according to default parameters or parameters specified by the user. The default parameter may be, for instance, to organize the photos according to dates associated with the photos. The user can specify any parameters, such as date, size, event, and so forth, for the media organizer 602 to use in arranging the media 108.

[0093] A movement controller 604 provides the user with a mechanism to regulate the pace of the loop(s) 106, as discussed herein, as it scrolls across a display device associated with the client 102. For example, the user may specify that the loop(s) 106 should scroll across the display device at a rate of one display device pixel per tenth of a second. The movement controller 804 also allows the user to specify the direction the loop(s) 106 should scroll across the display device of the client 102. For example, the user may specify that the loop(s) 106 should scroll left to right across the display device. Any manner of allowing the user to adjust the pace may be provided. For instance, the user may enter the scroll time into a box, move a slider between

a slowest pace and fastest pace, select from scroll paces from a drop-down menu, and so on.

[0094] A drag/drop manager 606 provides a mechanism for the user to modify the loop(s) 106 in a single drag-and-drop action. Thus, the user can drag one or more items of the media 108 into the loop(s) 106. The drag/drop manager 606 communicates the user action and information to other components/modules associated with the media engine 104 for automatically updating the loop(s) 106 to include the dropped media 108. As discussed herein, when the user performs this single act of dragging and dropping the media 108 into the loop(s) 106, one or more other loop(s) 106 that share the identifier are also updated with the dropped media 108. As discussed herein, the other loop(s) 106 may reside in other media engines 104 (FIG. 1) at the client(s) 114. Conversely, the user can drag one or more items of the media 108 away from the loop(s) 106, in order to remove the items. The loop(s) 106 that share the same identifier are also updated to no longer include the media 108 dragged away from the loop(s).

[0095] A scroll adjust 608 option may also be provided via the GUI engine 600. The scroll adjust 608 allows the user to manipulate the loop(s) 106 as they scroll across a display device. For instance, as the loop(s) 106 scrolls across the display device, the user can grab the loop(s) 106 with a mouse, keystroke, etc., and move the loop(s) 106. The user can stop the scrolling, slow down the scrolling, speed up the scrolling, and so forth by clicking on, moving, etc. the loop(s) 106, itself. The user can choose which of the loop(s) 106 and/or how many of the loop(s) 106 the user wants to scroll on the user's display device at one time.

[0096] Although an exemplary graphical user interface (GUI) engine 600 has been described, any type of GUI engine with any type of functionality is within the scope of various embodiments. For example, the GUI engine 600

may include mechanisms for allowing functionality such as creating another loop when the user selects the one or more items of the media 108 comprising the loop(s) 10S, displaying a larger image when the user selects the one or more items of the media 108 in the loop(s) 108, dragging-and-dropping the entire loop(s) 108 from one media engine 104 to another media engine 104, creating a new empty loop 108 from when the user selects an item of the media 108 in the loop(s) 108, sending an electronic mail message to other users that contains a copy of the entire loop(s) 108 or information related to specific loops 108, providing the ability to search for various loops 108 associated with the client 102, client(s) 114, and/or stored in a publicly accessible media directory 610, and so forth.

[0097] FIG. 7 illustrates a screen shot of an exemplary loop 704, such as the loop(s) 106 discussed in FIG. 1, in accordance with various embodiments is shown. A loop player 702, such as a graphical representation of the media engine 104 discussed in FIG. 1, includes several loops 704. Each loop 704 includes several items of media 706, such as the one or more items of the media 1OS discussed in FIG. 1. The loop player 702 plays the loop 704 by scrolling the various media 706 across a display device. The display device in FIG. 7 is, for example, a desktop display.

[0098] In FIG. 7, the loop player 702 is illustrated displaying two loops 704, one entitled "Lee Family Photos" and the other entitled "Surfing Buddies." As shown, one item of the media 706 in the "Surfing Buddies" loop 704 is a picture of four surfers. As discussed herein, various types of media 706 may be included in the loop(s) 704, such as the photograph of the four surfers, advertising content from a content provider, such as the content provider 116 discussed in FIG. 1, and so on. Although FIG. 7 shows two loops 704 adjacent to one another being played by the same loop player 702, a single loop 704 may scroll across a display device associated with a user according to various

embodiments. In various embodiments, the user may scroll more than one loop 704 across the display device at different locations on the display device, rather than adjacent loops 704 played in one loop player 702, as discussed herein. Further, more than one loop 704, including adjacent loops 704 played by one loop player 702, may scroll across the display device of the user.

[0099] The loop player 702 may scroll the media 706 for the loop 704 across the display device at any speed and/or in any direction. The speed and/or direction may be a default speed, a default direction, and/or a direction and/or speed specified by the user. In one embodiment, the content provider 116 specifies the speed in order to ensure that the content provided appears at specified increments of time. In a further embodiment, the server 112 may also specify the speed and/or the direction.

[00100] The user may utilize player controls 708 to adjust the speed, the media 706 to display, and so on. For instance, the user can skip to a previous or next item of the media 706 by utilizing the player controls 708. The user can also pause the scrolling loop(s) 704. Furthermore, the user can stop the loop 704, reduce or expand the size of the loop 704, or minimize the loop 704. In one embodiment, the user may access a master set of controls that control more than one loop 704. In another embodiment, when the user adjusts the player controls 708 associated with the loops 704, other users' loop(s) 704 with the same unique identifier are automatically adjusted as well.

[00101] The media 706 in the loop 704, can be dragged away, or otherwise removed, from the loop 704 by a user, as discussed herein. When the user removes one or more of the items of the media, the loop player 702 updates the loop 704 to no longer include the one or more items of the media 108 that the user removed. The loop player 702 may also forward the update to a server, such as the server 112 described in FIG. 1. The server 112 may subsequently update the other users' loop(s) 106 that share the same

identifier / with the removal of the one or more items of the media, in response to the single act by the user of removing the one or more items of the media from the user's loop 704. However, any manner of updating the loop(s) 106 is within the scope of various embodiments.

[00102] In order to drag the loop 704 and/or the loop player 702 to other areas of the display device, the user can grab the loop player 702 and move it to the desired area using a mouse, a keyboard, or any other coupled control device. The user can incorporate the loop 704 into a second loop, such as the loop(s) 106 discussed herein, by dragging and dropping the loop 704 into the second loop(s).

[00103] The user can drag the media 706 from the loop 704 to a second loop to modify the second loop with the media 706 that was dragged into the second loop. In one embodiment, the user may select from a drop-down menu to copy and/or move the media 706 to another loop.

[00104] In various embodiments, the user may select a single frame from of the media 706, such as the photo of the four surfers, in order to "open" the single frame or load a new loop associated with the single frame. Opening the single frame of the media 706 may enlarge the content that comprises the single frame, display an alternate version of the media 706 that comprises the single frame, make the content available for editing, stop the single frame content from moving (in the event of moving displays), direct the user to a URL address, and so on.

[00105] Opening the single frame of the media 108 may also present a new loop, or "sub loop", associated with the single frame of the media 706. For instance, if a user associated with the loop 704 selects the frame with the photo of the four surfers in the media 706 in the "Surfing Buddies" loop 704, a new loop with more surfing buddies photos and/or content may be revealed. Opening a single frame of the media 706 in a loop 704 having an

advertisement may reveal a new loop with content provided solely by a content provider, such as the content provider 116 discussed in FIG. 1. Any type of new loop may be provided as a consequence of opening the single frame of the media 706.

[00106] In various embodiments, when the user selects a single frame of the media 706, the loop player 702 makes a request to a client (e.g., such as the client 102 and/or the client(s) 114), to launch a particular application running on the client 102 and/or the client(s) 114. For example, when a particular frame of the media 706 in the loop 704 is selected, the loop player 702 instructs a web browser installed on the client 102 to display a particular web page. The web page may be associated with subject matter for the single frame of the media 706.

[00107] In various embodiments, opening a single frame of the media

706 may provide an additional option of sending the single frame of the media 706 to one or more other users. For example, although two users may not share the loop(s) 704 with the same unique identifier, the two users may maintain the loop(s) 704 with similar subject matter. Accordingly, the users may send one or more of the single frames of the media 706 to one another in order to update content, inform one another of advertising, etc.

[00108] One or more of the frames of the media 706 can be shared between any users for any reason. In various embodiments, the content provider 116 (FIG. 1) pushes time sensitive information to users of the loop(s) 106 as one or more frames of the media 706. Any type of information may be provided to users of the loop(s) 704, such as news, financial data, sales information, new product offerings, single frames of the media 706 from other loop(s) 704 users, and so on. In one embodiment, the users of the loop(s) 704 can block single frames of the media 706 from being presented.

[00109] In some embodiments, loop(s) 704 intermittently or periodically displays commercial content such as media delivered by commercial servers. FIG. 8 illustrates an example of a display 800 of a client 102 showing a loop(s) 810 including both non-commercial media 820 and an example of commercial media 830. The commercial media 830 can be added to the loop(s) 810 every n th frame, or after a specified time interval, for instance. Any means of determining when the commercial media 830 can be added to the loop(s) 810 is within the scope of this invention.

[00110] One issue for entities that seek to have their commercial content served to users in this way is whether their content is actually being seen by the users. The commercial media 830 scrolls across the display 800 whether or not anyone is in front of the display 800 to view the commercial media 830. Providers of commercial content may prefer to pay for the opportunity to serve such content based on the numbers of viewers who actually see the content, rather than based on the number of times the content has been displayed. Accordingly, in some embodiments, it is advantageous to have a mechanism that can indicate a likelihood that the commercial media 830 actually has been viewed.

[00111] One such mechanism is termed a "beacon" herein. FIG. 9 illustrates a method of using a signal beacon to account for likely viewing of commercial media, according to various embodiments. Use of the beacon mechanism is shown in Figure 9. At a step 902, a user activity is detected during or near a time period associated with the display of commercial media in a loop(s) 106. At a step 904, a beacon, which is a signal communicated from the client 102 (Fig. 1) is sent to an accounting module, such as commercial server or accounting server, to indicate that commercial media 830 (Fig. 8) was likely viewed. The beacon can be a single data packet, for example, that includes an identifier of the commercial media 830 (Fig. 8). The beacon can

also include further information, in some embodiments, such as the time of day the commercial media 830 (Fig. 8) was displayed, the identifier of the client 102 (Fig. 1) on which the commercial media 830 (Fig. 8) was displayed, the identity of the loop(s) 106, or the like. At a step 906, the accounting module is optionally used to sum the number of beacons received for each identifier of commercial content, and optionally bill the commercial content provider accordingly. In an alternative embodiment, user activity detected at step 902 may occur at a time of interest to a monitoring security system associated with a loop, and at step 904 the beacon may be sent to an accounting module that at step 906 records the user activity for a security monitoring purpose. In another alternative embodiment, user activity detected at step 902 may occur at a time of interest to an educational or research system associated with a loop, and at step 904 the beacon may be sent to an accounting module that at step 906 records the user activity for an educational or research purpose. Use of the beacon mechanism is not limited to the illustrative examples herein described.

[00112] In exemplary embodiments, a beacon can contain beacon information. Beacon information can comprise the information associated with the user, time beacon was triggered, the media 108, or the loop 106. In some embodiments, beacon information may contain the identity of the user, the type of digital device that sent the beacon, the time of day the beacon was triggered, the media 108 that triggered the beacon, and/or the loop 106 that triggered the beacon.

[00113] In some embodiments, the beacon information may be used to create a profile for the user, the media 108, or the loop 106. The profiles may be further used to target advertisements to the user or send specific media 108 to the user's loop 106. In one example, the user triggers beacons at a certain time of day on specific days. The user may then receive advertisements for

television programs at that time. In another example, the user may trigger beacons by selecting certain advertising media 108 within a loop 106. The beacons sent by the user comprise beacon information regarding the user (e.g., a user identifier), the loop (e.g., a loop identifier), and or the type of advertising media 1OS the user prefers (e.g., trips to Disneyland.) This information may be used to send targeted advertisements such as trips to other theme parks to the user.

[00114] In some embodiments, the media engine 104 (FIG. 1) is responsible for sending beacons during periods of detected user activity. For example, the control module 204 (FIG. 2) can be configured to recognize every time a user moves a cursor on the display SOO. Whenever this event occurs a beacon can be sent from the media engine 104 if the commercial media 830 is presently being displayed within the loop(s) 810. In various embodiments, a beacon is sent if the cursor interacts with the loop(s) 810 within a period after, within a period before, or while the commercial media 830 are displayed. For example, in one embodiment a beacon is sent if the cursor interacts with the loop(s) 810 within 10 seconds after the commercial media 830 are displayed. The media engine 104 can also be configured to send only one beacon per occurrence of the commercial media 830, so that a user who passes the cursor multiple times over the loop(s) 810 within a short period of time does not generate multiple beacons for the same item of commercial media 830. Any indicator of user activity to trigger beacons is within the scope of this invention; for example, keystrokes, cursor movement, detecting a human voice, human retinal scanning, motion sensing, etc.

[00115] In view of the above, an accounting method of the invention comprises, for a plurality of clients configured to display loops 810, detecting user activity that occurs during a period of time within which commercial media 830 is displayed in the loop(s) 810, sending a beacon that identifies the

commercial media 830 to an accounting module upon such user interaction during the period of time, and counting the number of beacons received by the accounting module for the commercial media 830.

[00116] The above-described functions can be comprised of instructions that are stored on a storage medium. The instructions can be retrieved and executed by a processor. Some examples of instructions are software, program code, and firmware. Some examples of storage media include memory devices, tape, disks, integrated circuits, and servers. The instructions are operational when executed by the processor to direct the processor to operate in accord with the invention. Those skilled in the art are familiar with instructions, processor(s), and storage media.

[00117] Several embodiments are specifically illustrated and/or described herein. However, it will be appreciated that modifications and variations are covered by the above teachings and within the scope of the appended claims without departing from the spirit and intended scope thereof. For example, several beacons may be stored on client 102 and delivered as a group. A beacon may be configured to characterize the type of user activity detected. A user activity may be associated with a part of a display other than a loop(s) 106. For example, if keystrokes associated with another part of a display are occurring, or if there has been any recent cursor movement, or if a screen saver is not activated.

[00118] The embodiments discussed herein are illustrative of the present invention. As these embodiments of the present invention are described with reference to illustrations, various modifications or adaptations of the methods and or specific structures described may become apparent to those skilled in the art. All such modifications, adaptations, or variations that rely upon the teachings of the present invention, and through which these teachings have advanced the art, are considered to be within the spirit and scope of the

present invention. Hence, these descriptions and drawings should not be considered in a limiting sense, as it is understood that the present invention is in no way limited to only the embodiments illustrated.