GMail Patent Application for Variable Length Snippets

If you could have your dream email program, what would it be like? If you could have Google back up your efforts in building that program, you might just be Paul Buchheit.

A new patent application from Google’s GMail engineer Paul Buchheit was published today on the snippets that you might see when you receive search results in a search engine, including results that might be received when searching for such things as an email.

Variable length snippet generation

Here’s the abstract:

A method and system are disclosed that provide a variable length snippet when returning snippets in response to a search request. Under conditions where the search query matches a document with a high degree of certainty, a shorter snippet is provided than when the document does not match the search query with a high level certainty. A variable snippet length is also based on an estimate of how likely a user will recognize the document. For example, shorter snippets are provided is a user has recently viewed a document, but longer snippets are provided if a user has not recently viewed the document.

The patent application reads like Paul Buchheit is continuing his efforts to make GMail the type of email that he would like to use.

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3 thoughts on “GMail Patent Application for Variable Length Snippets”

  1. Pingback: СоНоты » Blog Archive » Снипеты переменной длины запатентованы
  2. Congratulations on finding out this patent, Bill. This displays the kind of creative brilliance that just makes your day when you see it. I wonder why they attach this to Gmail. It seems a good idea for the traditional search engine reports as well.

  3. Thanks, Barry.

    I’d imagine that if they could find ways to optimize snippets for search engine results, too, that they would. With Gmail, they have a pretty good grasp of the user’s behavior regarding the universe of limited documents before him or her. With a search of the web, they don’t have that knowledge, and the pool of documents is much larger.

    Personalized search might enable them to make some tweaks tto the way they present web search results though.

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