Techdirt notes a patent application from Microsoft covering Automatic Goodbye Messages. Says submitter theodb (who is incidentally highly skilled at identifying asspatents):

By automatically sending messages like ‘Have a great afternoon!’, ‘Sorry, I have got to go!’, ‘Have a terrific day!’, ‘Ciao, Harry!’, or even a simple ‘Bye!’ at the end of an IM session, Microsoft explains, one avoids insulting a converser with whom a conversation is ended.

Yeah. That’s great. Revolutionary idea, clearly in no way obvious to the generation of people who grew up with IRC and text editing software that’s capable of autocompleting words or phrases based on user-defined shortcuts and behavior.

But to put a positive spin on this post, here’s a related idea that I would totally pay for—and if anybody builds this, you can file for a patent on it with my blessing:

I want an IM plugin that will determine whether or not anything productive and/or entertaining is likely to come from continuing an IM session and if not, send an automatic goodbye message to the other participant and terminate the session.

As an alternate formulation, I’d accept an implementation in which (after determining that the session is unproductive/boring) an Eliza-ish AI automatically takes over the session for me, responding to the other participant as seems appropriate.

Lazyweb, do your thing!