Exploring a newly-granted Google patent around social signals

Disclaimer: When discussing patents, it’s important to remember that simply filing a patent does not mean a technology is in use or will ever be used. It is simply a strong indication that an idea is being considered and likely tested.
Every now and then, a patent comes across my radar that gets me excited, and one granted recently to Google fits that bill perfectly.
We’re heard repeatedly from Google that social interactions are not a search ranking signal.  In fact, you can read a Tweet from Google’s Gary Illyes in response to the statement, “Some controversy over whether Google takes social into account for SEO….” His reply:

@RicardoBlanco take a look at this video. https://t.co/zPKuZRNaoy The short version is, no, we don’t@louisgray @PRNews @JohnMu
— Gary Illyes (@methode) June 7, 2016

So the answer is “No,” right?
Maybe, and here’s where it gets interesting. Understanding that the folks at Google tend to give answers that are technically correct but not always in the spirit of

Search Engine Land Source

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