How You May Be Helping Google Map Indoor Spaces

A couple of years ago, Google acquired the startup Behavio. One of the selling points behind Behavio was how it used behavior data from Phones to better understand human behavior. It’s likely that Google acquired the company Zipdash back in 2004 to learn about real-time traffic data.

Compass Study,  Calsidyrose, Some rights reserved
Compass Study,
Calsidyrose, Some rights reserved

A Google patent application published in the last week describes how Google might be using Mobile data from phones to map indoor spaces, combining the technologies behind Behavio, with traffic monitoring from Zipdash to better understand spaces that many people navigate through while carrying a mobile device that connects to the internet with wireless signals and carries sensor data that can indicate the location and movements of those devices.

The patent tells us that current approaches to determine indoor locations of mobile devices are based on interior scans of wireless access points. Theses scans could be used to build a database that can model an indoor space by determining locations of the access points and their corresponding signal strengths at those locations. To create a database like this, an indoor wireless location provider would have to conduct site surveys at selected locations.

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Is An Improved Version of Agent Rank Returning to Google?

Sometimes, I run across a patent that provides details on things that Google might do, but only hints at whether or not it might actually be implemented. A few years back in 2007, I wrote about a Google patent for Agent Rank, which described reputation scores for authors (to be used as an alternative to PageRank), and looked like an important part of Google’s social network, Google+. It was referred to in the patent as “Agent Rank” and people commenting upon it started referring to it as “Author Rank”.

It seemed like it was a good description of how some people whom you may have connected with in Google+ were showing up in response to queries they had some expertise within. There may have been issues with Google’s version of Agent Rank that the search engine wanted a second bite at. Google has since removed the Photos that were showing up for authors whom you might be connected to, who may have been highly ranked, seemingly based upon a reputation score, for a topic related to a query that you might perform.

There were people who wrote that while this authorship markup was removed, and author photos associated with it, the author rank scoring system that came with it was still around, like this Search Engine Land article: Google Authorship May Be Dead, But Author Rank Is Not.

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How Google May Answer Questions in Queries with Rich Content Results

From the query, 'How to fix a clogged sink.'
From the query, ‘How to fix a clogged sink.’

This patent application from last week describes a search system query processing for queries that are questions.

Queries may be responded to with a wide variety of resources, such as image files, audio files, video files, and web pages. A search engine may identify resources in response to queries submitted by searchers and attempt to provide information in response “in a manner that is useful to the users.”

Searchers may look for an answer to a specific question, rather than a listing of links to other pages and resources.

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Google to Map the Quality of Roads?

We’ve all read about Google working to build self-driving cars, and I’ve written about Google building Google Maps programs to help people navigate to different places.

A Google patent application published this week takes a closer look at computers in cars, and the many sensors that are connected to those, and it discusses how automotive computing systems that include such things as:

…network based applications including navigation, voice search, media streaming capabilities, and the like.

An Overview of Google's Patent Process to monitor Road Quality
An Overview of Google’s Patent Process to monitor Road Quality

The patent mentions On board diagnostics (OBD) standards in the automotive industry were made became available with engine computer systems that showed up in the 1980s.

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How Google May Trigger Answer Box Results for Queries

So, one of the big questions in SEO these days is why some queries end up triggering Answer Boxes in search results, and others don’t.

A Recent Bloomberg article explores how Google might use machine learning to answer questions, titled, Google’s New AI Can Answer Dumb IT Questions or Tell You the Meaning of Life. I came across the article after having read a patent application at Google that covered similar ground.The point behind the patent was to identify sources of answers to queries, that are in the shape of Answer Boxes, as seen in this search result:

duke-blue-devils

As this patent application tells us, sometimes searchers are looking for answers to their queries, rather than a list of URLs:

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Ranking in Google Since The Advent of The Knowledge Graph

Tonight, I am joining Barbara Starr in giving a two Person Presentation in San Diego, at the Courtyard San Diego in Old Town, titled Ranking in Google Since the Advent of the Knowledge Graph.

The presentation is a meetup cohosted by a few different local meetup groups:

The SEO San Diego Meetup
The SEM San Diego Meetup
The Lotico San Diego Semantic Web

The presentation for tonight’s meetup is:

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How Google May Classify Sites as Low Quality Sites

A mural in Carlsbad, Ca.
A mural in Carlsbad, Ca.

On Tuesday, June 23, 2015. Barbara Starr and I are giving a two person Presentation to the SEO San Diego Meetup, SEM San Diego Meetup, and Lotico Semantic Web San Diego Meetup Groups, titled Ranking in Google Since The Advent of The Knowledge Graph.

Barbara and I have been looking at a lot of patents while preparing for the presentation, and one of the topic areas that we were going to discuss was Quality Scores, since one of the patents that mentions adding “Buy Now” buttons to paid search listings in search results, may do so only if the sites being considered to show buy now buttons have a high enough Quality Score associated with them.

While preparing, Barbara pointed out another patent to me that focuses upon low quality scores. It describes how a site might lose traffic if ranking scores for links pointed to it are below a certain threshold.

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How Google May Choose Sitelinks in Search Results Based upon Visual or Functional Significance (Updated)

Added 6-17-2015 – It’s not clear from the new patent filings, but from feedback I received on Twitter from Mathieu Janin, at https://twitter.com/Matt_Refeo, it appears that Google may be showing sitelinks for pages that aren’t just the home pages of a site. As Mathieu tweeted to me:

These sitelinks appear to be from an internal page on this site.
These sitelinks appear to be from an internal page on this site.

I performed this query again on the french version of Google, and it is showing sitelinks for an internal page on the site:

Sitelinks appearing for an internal page on the site.
Sitelinks appearing for an internal page on the site.

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Getting Information about Search, SEO, and the Semantic Web Directly from the Search Engines