Apple Meta Data and RSS Patents

I’ve recently started thinking about getting a Mac notebook. I’m just in the beginning research stages, and really don’t know much about how they differ from Windows PCs. I had a Mac cx years ago, but haven’t used one much since.

This does seem to be a good year for the folks at Apple, and I was checking out some laptops at the Apple Store in my local mall last week while doing some last minute Christmas shopping. I liked what I saw.

As I was searching and sorting through the latest patent applications from the US Patent Office this morning, I saw a name I recognized on one of them – Steven P. Jobs. I noticed a few others seemed to share some inventors, and figured that I had better bookmark them to look at later.

I ran across this article, The Devil’s Advocate – Spotlight: Is Your Mac Going To Rat On You?, while checking to see if the topics raised in the patents where timely, and figured that they might be. How much of a privacy concern might these multiple levels of meta data be?

The first patent application is about RSS and news feeds, and the remaining five are about different aspects of meta data. Four of those share the same name, but they are about similar but different aspects of meta data. I’m not going to go into any analysis of them, because I just don’t know Macs well enough yet.

News feed browser

Abstract:

Techniques for detecting, managing, and presenting syndication XML (feeds) are disclosed.

In one embodiment, a web browser automatically determines that a web site is publishing feeds and notifies the user, who can then access the feed easily.

In another embodiment, a browser determines that a web page or feed is advertising relationship XML, and displays information about the people identified in the relationship XML.

In yet another embodiment, a browser determines that a file contains a feed and enables the user to view it in a user-friendly way.

In yet another embodiment, feed state information is stored in a repository that is accessible by applications that are used to view the feed.

In yet another embodiment, if a feed’s state changes, an application notifies the repository, and the state is updated.

In yet another embodiment, a feed is parsed and stored in a structured way.

Methods and systems for managing data

Abstract:

Systems and methods for managing data, such as metadata.

In one exemplary method, metadata from files created by several different software applications are captured, and the captured metadata is searched.

The type of information in metadata for one type of file differs from the type of information in metadata for another type of file.

Other methods are described and data processing systems and machine readable media are also described.

Method and apparatus for processing metadata

Abstract:

Methods and apparatuses for processing metadata are described herein.

In one embodiment, when a file (e.g., a text, audio, and/or image files) having metadata is received, the metadata and optionally at least a portion of the content of the file are extracted from the file to generate a first set of metadata.

An analysis is performed on the extracted metadata and the content to generate a second set of metadata, which may include metadata in addition to the first set of metadata.

The second set of metadata may be stored in a database suitable to be searched to identify or locate the file.

Other methods and apparatuses are also described.

Methods and systems for managing data

Abstract:

Systems and methods for managing data, such as metadata.

In one exemplary method, metadata from files created by several different software applications are captured, and the captured metadata is searched.

The type of information in metadata for one type of file differs from the type of information in metadata for another type of file.

Other methods are described and data processing systems and machine readable media are also described.

Methods and systems for managing data

Abstract:

Methods and systems for managing an index database.

In one exemplary method, an index database is stored on a machine readable volume with an operating system and the files which have been indexed, and then the volume is, after the storing, made available for distribution to licensees or customers.

In this manner, the volume will include a previously created index database, allowing a user to begin use of the index database without having to perform an indexing operation.

Methods and systems for managing data

Abstract:

Systems and methods for managing data, such as metadata.

In one exemplary method, a selection of at least one file having metadata stored in a metadata database is received, and a selection of a command to search, using at least a portion of the metadata, is received, and a search through the metadata database is performed.

Methods and data processing systems and machine readable media are also described.

I’m going to leave a comment on John Kheit’s Devil’s Advocate post, which I linked to above. It sounds like he has a good grasp on how meta data works under the newest version of OS X. These might give him some fuel for a follow-up post over at Mac Observer.

Added – 12/30/05

John Kheit did response to my comment, with a thoughtful post about these patent applications. Thanks, John. His post can be found here: Apple Applies for Metadata Management Patents.

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3 thoughts on “Apple Meta Data and RSS Patents”

  1. I’m not qualified to evaluate the patents, but as far as John Kheit’s Devil’s Advocate post: Spotlight is certainly going to be more secure than a third party HD search application would be (ie. Google Desktop, Yahoo Desktop, Copernic etc.) and OS X has no Registry like Windows. With that said, keeping any data recorded either in writing or on a HD could make you more vulnerable. *shrugs* Isn’t that the beef Eric Schmidt had with C-Net: the info about him was pretty much public record but his own search engine let people actually find it in a timely and useful manner.

    Anyway, I like Spotlight, when I remember it’s even there, Most of the time I still hunt in folders in Finder but it has saved me from a Scud-hunt on several occasions.

    Mac laptops: if the new Intel based Mac laptops come out in mid-Jan (two weeks) they should be very fast indeed. I would wait a couple of months after that to let them smooth out any bugs of running OS X on Intel before buying tho.

  2. Thanks, Brad. Great comment.

    I think you’ve calmed my concerns, and your suggestion on the laptop is an excellent one.

    I am paranoid enough to stay away from the desktop search applications, but I really dislike features like the “track changes” one in Microsoft Word. Yes, I’ll confess that I did send out a document with changes still embedded in meta data. once.

    Nice introduction to a feature, that was. But once I was aware that it was an issue, I didn’t let it happen again. It sounds like the same is true with Spotlight, and the meta data it uses – if you know it’s there (and remember to use it), it can be helpful.

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