"As competition heats up with Google Plus, patents related to social will be an important thing to have," said IDC analyst Will Stofega. Google acquired the patents on Dec. 30 in a deal first reported by the blog SEO by the Sea. -- Written by Olivia Oran in New York. >To follow the writer on Twitter, go to http://twitter.com/Ozoran. >To submit a news tip, send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org.