Google’s Holy Grail of Shopping?

Sometimes patent filings from the search engines don’t describe some hidden algorithm or behind-the scenes-technology, but instead detail a whole new way of doing business. Here’s one such document published yesterday by Google that looks at shopping for products and services in a completely different manner.

Keep in mind that previously, Google’s product and shopping services have included Froogle, Google Catalogs, and Google Local. If something like what is described here is developed, it could change around the way many people shop.

This patent filing expands upon those offerings in a dramatic manner, from assistance inside of stores, restaurants, resorts, travel terminals and others, through driving and walking directions that tell you about sales and promotions at the end point of the trip, and along the way. It allows stores to dynamically offer promotions across a chain, or manually enter specials at specific locations.

Generating and/or serving dynamic promotional offers such as coupons and advertisements
Inventors: Ashutosh Garg and Allen Romero
US Patent Application 20060143080
Published June 29, 2006
Filed December 29, 2004

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New Blog On Information Retrieval

I’d like to welcome Dr. E. Garcia to the world of blogging.

I met Dr. E. Garcia at the New York Search Engine Strategies in March of 2005, and he spent a number of hours with me and Ian McAnerin one night explaining some of how Information Retrieval can be helpful to people who are involved with marketing on the web. I think that we stayed up until 2:00 or 3:00 am in the hotel lobby, surrounded by Venn Diagrams drawn out on bar napkins, showing how search engines treat different types of queries differently, and how similar queries can be compared to each other using information retrieved from the search engines.

Dr. Garcia sent me an email yesterday, telling me that he has just started a blog, IR Thoughts. He’s written a couple of posts in the first two days of the blog’s existence – an introduction, and a post on the vector space model. His site also has a number of very good tutorials on Information Retrieval, focusing on providing information for Information Retrieval Students and Search Engine Marketers.

I’d also recommend very highly Dr. Garcia’s article on keyword density, titled The Keyword Density of Non-Sense.

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How to Personalize Web Search

When you perform a search on one of the major search engines for a particular query, and when I perform the same search, chances are that we will see the same pages appearing on the search results pages. Then again, we may not. Chances are also good that in the future, the results that each of us sees will be different.

One of the areas that many in academia, and at commercial search engines are exploring is how to personalize web search.

We see that most visibly in the personalized search pages that the major search engines have released. They explain how to receive personalized searches on the following pages:

Google Help Center – Personalizing your search results

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Content Planning for Search Engine Optimization

This post doesn’t describe the actual creation of content for a site, from an SEO stance, but it does detail some of the planning and steps that can be taken to help in the process.

It also doesn’t discuss some of the technical aspects of SEO that should be planned for to make a site easier to be found by search engines. But it does provide a number of questions that may make it easier for someone who is considering optimizing their site for search engines as they are putting together content for the pages of their site.

One of my favorite articles of the past few years on design is a Digital Web article from 2003 by G.A. Buchholz, titled A Content Requirements Plan (CRP) helps Web designers take a leadership role.

I think that part of the planning of the content of a site also should include an awareness of search engines, and a knowledge of some SEO goals. Those goals aren’t too difficult to keep in mind when it comes to creating the words for a site, but are definitely worth considering:

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Should Search Engines Help Searchers Avoid Malicious Sites?

How safe are search engines? One recent answer might surprise you.

Back in May, Ben Edelman wrote about Search Engine Safety. In part, he was writing about how search engine paid advertising for some products, like screensavers, may lead to sites that would put spyware on the computers of visitors who download the screensavers. He wrote more on that practice in a January post titled Pushing Spyware through Search

He was also announcing a study that he had worked on with McAfee, about The Safety of Internet Search Engines. If you missed this report in May, it’s worth a visit. It discusses the safety of organic results through search engines, as well as paid results.

What’s a search engine to do?

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SEO by the Sea First Anniversary

SEO by the Sea was created in the heat of last year’s summer, with a breeze blowing off the Chesapeake Bay, and an idea to try to get a few marketers to join together to share a few stories, a journey out on the Chesapeake, and some good food and drink.

The early days, and early pages of the blog are about the event, and places to see and stay at, and things to do in Northern Maryland. Once the event ended, the web site was probably going to go into hiatus, possibly for another gathering this year.

Posting was slim in the months following a cruise on the Chesapeake, but an occasional post made it on to the site, and as the weather turned colder, a few more started appearing. A post about Google Acquisitions drew some attention from a few thousand people at Digg, and a nomination from Search Engine Journal (thanks, Loren) drew some more readers to the site.

I had been watching out for new patents and patent applications, and whitepapers on search for a while, and it made some sense to start writing about some of those here. The response seems to have been pretty positive, and I was invited by Danny Sullivan to speak at the Search Engine Strategies Conference in New York this past spring, and surprised by him there when he asked me if I would like to write about search patents and search research for Search Engine Watch. I’ll be traveling to San Jose for another SES in August, and I’m looking forward to a visit to the west coast. Thanks for those opportunities, Danny.

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Mining Searchers’ Queries for Information

Search engines, and the people who constantly improve and update them are getting smarter and smarter when it comes to finding ways to make the results of those search engines more relevant.

One area they are paying more attention to is in search engine log files, watching how searchers interact with the search engines. I wanted to do some more research on how researchers might be looking at queries, and collected some citations to a number of pages involving that type of research.

This is by no means the canonical list of search engine/user behavior papers, but it’s a start…

More on Deletion Predictions

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Google Autolink Patent

A patent application filed at the end of last week appeared to describe how Google Autolink worked – Providing useful information associated with an item in a document.

The United States Patent and Trademark Office assignment database shows that this document was assigned to Google in December of 2004, but, as close as it seemed to describe how autolink worked, I wasn’t completely convinced.

At least until I looked closer at the “figures” filed with the document. Note the “autolink” button on the bottom toolbar in the picture of a browser window below.

A browser window, with a Google Autolink button from the patent application.

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