Google Acquires Jotspot, Inc. & Wiki Patent Application

The news this morning, posted at the Google Blog is that Google has acquired Jotspot.

I’ve been working with Jotspot wikis for a couple of internal business uses, and really enjoy it. This was an excellent choice for Google, and the program provides a nice additional tool to go along with Google’s Docs and spreadsheets. There is some overlap between what it offers, and what those programs provide, but the addition of the team behind JotSpot should work to make the programs even better.

Registration for the site is presently closed while it is moved over to Google’s achitecture, but it appears that once it is back running, Google will not charge people to use it.

There was a “Frequently Asked Questions” section on the jot.com web site which is not available anymore, involving the acquistion on the Jotspot pages, and I found a patent application that was filed by Joe Kraus and Graham Spencer of Jotspot, Inc.

Collaborative web page authoring
Invented by Joe Kraus and Graham Spencer
US Patent Application 20060235984
Published October 19, 2006
Filed on January 31, 2006

Abstract

Collaborative web pages are enabled which allow every page on a website to be editable by an author and by others the author lets access the site. Web pages can send and receive email messages. Users can attach files to pages. Structure queries and page-building are enabled by use of various forms and form elements.

Some of the features of the system described in the patent application:

  • Editable Pages
  • WYSIWYG Editing
  • Email to a Page
  • Attachments to pages
  • Full text Indexing
  • Revision Control
  • Form based input of Data
  • Dynamic Tables & Calendars
  • Compositing Data (data from multiple sources may be placed upon a page, including the embedding of Google Search Results and custom news feeds
  • System has a built in Application Platform
  • Easily Customized and Modified Pages

The founders of Jotspot, Inc., Joe Kraus and Graham Spencer, were founders of Excite.com.

Graham Spencer published at least a couple patents while working at Excite:

System and method for querying multiple, distributed databases by selective sharing of local relative significance information for terms related to the query
Patent no. 5,826,261
Granted October 20, 1998

Information retrieval system and method with implementation extensible query architecture
Patent no. 5,577,241
Granted November 19, 1996

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13 thoughts on “Google Acquires Jotspot, Inc. & Wiki Patent Application”

  1. So, Google might be developing something like Wikipedia then? Great, I heard that one of the pioneers behind Wikipedia was also going to launch a new online dictionary based on Wikipedia.

  2. Hi Anghus,

    I don’t think that the Wikipedia is in danger of competition from Google.

    The jotspot wiki software is intended more for smaller collaborative groups and business use. It incorporates a lot of tools such as spreadsheets and other non-text based applications that wikipedia doesn’t have.

    One of its benefits as a business tool is the ability to use it privately as an internal collaborative place to communicate.

    I do imagine that because of the acquisition, it will receive a lot more publicity, and we may see many more wikis being used by people who may not have tried one otherwise.

    It’s possible that as more people become comfortable with using a wiki, more folks may start contributing at wikipedia.

    I had thought some type of dictionary project might have been launched, already. Are you thinking of the wiktionary maybe? (I had to search for it myself :) )

  3. Thanks for your reply. I have posted my mail to JotSpot, have to wait a while I guess.

    I’m not sure if wiktionary is the one. Can’t remember the name, but one of the guys (whos name has been deleted from Wikipedia) was in Norway for 2 weeks a go i guess. He was interviewd and he said that he was working on a new Wiki projocet. And their wiki was going to scrape the content from Wikipedia. According to him the GNUP law states that as long as they rewrite 25% (or keep the 25% of the original content, getting late now :)) they can use Wikipedia’s content. But i forgot the name.

  4. The Patent Application bugs me more to be honest. It better will not be approved or I see the Billion Dollar Lawsuits already on the horizon a bunch of years from now.

    I have so much stuff in emails, often because I post articles into an email and send it to myself to have it at a place where I a) will not likely delete it and b) have a better chance to find it later, especially in combination with tools like Google Desktop.

    The size of my be now 3 main email accounts is 1-3 Gigabyte each which creates problems for outlook, outlook express and Google desktop as well. I am thinking in my head already about programming something to solve this.

    The best way is a system where the emails are not processed directly by your email client, but are processed by a software first and dumped in a database server (on the web somewhere). Basically an extended version of GMail in a sense which needs to go far beyond email and should integrate a full set of office apps to work with the various files that are send as attachment to be later completely be embedded in the same “document” , similar to MS One Note. or MS Office on Steroids.

    The ability to categorize and/or Tag stuff is vital to have the ability to browse certain content or use it as refinement filters after the initial search returned a bit too much.

    I can’t be that Joe, Graham and me are the only people dreaming this kind of stuff up. I tend to believe that it will be a natural progression to something like that.

    I hope that the patent app is at least because of a service or app they are currently working on. Getting something like that would make my day, every day :)

    Cheers,
    Carsten

  5. Hi Carsten,

    Thanks for the thoughtful comments. How much of what they are attempting to patent there is new, nonobvious, and useful? I don’t know, and it’s what a patent examiner will investigate.

    How jotspot works though, is fairly transparent. So, if they want to try to keep their competition from rolling out something very similar, going through the patent process with it isn’t a bad idea on their part.

    Using something like jotspot for emailed notes to yourself, which you can do, and to others if you are sharing the wiki, is a great idea. I’ve done the same with my email in the past. I’ve also thought about doing that with blogging software, since many will let you post to a blog by email.

    Jotspot does look like it could be the core to a nice system of applications if they decide to take it in that direction. I guess we have to wait and see.

  6. Bill,
    From what I have been reading about this, it appears that the technology may not be the core of this purchase. I have a gut feeling that we will see some new ideas that Joe Kraus and Graham Spencer may have in their ideas box.
    The platform sounds that it is a very stable and intended for users (unlike wikipedia). It is an interesting move from Google, I can’t wait to see the collaborations to come!
    Cheers

  7. Yes, indeed.

    I agree. The technology was worth acquiring, but that probably wasn’t the sole motivation for Google.

    The amount of people who have founded world class search engines is a small group, and the chance to get folks like Joe Kraus and Graham Spencer, Sergey Brin and Larry Page together in the same room sharing experiences and ideas sounds like a great opportunity.

  8. One feature I’d like to see fall out of this acquisition is Wikipedia on steroids – concurrent editing of wiki pages by embedding writely’s engine on each and every wiki page. This request is outstanding on wikispaces.com and Google may very get to it first assuming they successfully empower their teams to collaborate together with their own vision and tools!

  9. I’ve been using Jotspot to collaborate on a couple of different team blogs, and share ideas and information about future posts.

    It’s a nice tool, and very helpful to our efforts. I wouldn’t mind seeing more of the features from jotspot become available on more wikis. Do you think that Google would enable or allow others like wikispaces to use some of those wiki enhancements within their software?

  10. From what I have been reading about this, it appears that the technology may not be the core of this purchase. I have a gut feeling that we will see some new ideas that Joe Kraus and Graham Spencer may have in their ideas box.
    The platform sounds that it is a very stable and intended for users (unlike wikipedia). It is an interesting move from Google, I can’t wait to see the collaborations to come!

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