Pubcon and Google Patents

Pubcon starts this morning in Las Vegas, and I have to race off to register shortly.

I arrived yesterday, and toured around the City a little. The Hotel/Casino that I stayed at a few months ago, the Stardust is now closed, and has a big fence around it, with signs that an auction will be held later this week for the public.

Noticed these patents had been granted to Google this morning:

Methods and apparatus for providing search results in response to an ambiguous search query
Inventors: Benjamin Thomas Smith, Sergey Brin, Sanjay Ghemawat, John Abraham Bauer
Assignee: Google, Inc.
United States Patent 7,136,854
Granted November 14, 2006
Filed: December 26, 2000


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Live Labs vs. Microsoft Research

A powerpoint presentation from Gary Flake titled How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Imminent Internet Singularity (pdf), via Frank McCown’s Questio Verum, details some of the differences between the Live Labs team and Microsoft Research.

He also talks about the “internet singularity,” which is:

The idea that a deeper and tighter coupling between the online and offline worlds will accelerate science, business, society, and self-actualization.

I’d love to hear the presentation that goes along with this powerpoint, but the slides are interesting on their own. They look at the:

  • Democratization of the web
  • power laws,
  • long tails,
  • network effects, and;
  • the Innovator’s Dilemma.

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Looking for a Library on Google Local

Back in July, I wrote about a patent application from Google that may have described how Google attempts to find the web pages that should be shown with local search results, Authority Documents for Google’s Local Search.

One of the places that a local search service might look for business information about an enterprise online is through business directories. A number of white papers on local search and geographic location information note that some organizations and places might not list themselves in those types of directories, because there is often a fee associated with many of the better ones.

I would guess that Libraries would be amongst that group with little incentive to hunt down directories, and pay to be included within them, yet also believe that there are many web sites that might list and link to libraries for free.

One of the great things about a local search is that you can not only find a location and other information about an organization through them, but also that they will provide a web address, so that you can visit their web site and learn even more. How well does that work? I decided to look up a number of libraries to see if the web site listed in the information about those libraries was the web site for the actual library.

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Riya Patent Applications for Visual Recognition and Search Technology

The transformation of Web 2.0 facial recognition software service Riya into shopping visual search engine is a remarkable story, involving some interesting technology. was just launched a couple of days ago, but the company behind it almost may have become a Google acquisition last year.

Riya started out with a great deal of buzz and excitement behind it. Originally a way to recognize visual features in photos, it began a metamorphosis into a visual search engine this summer. Now, with the November 8th start date of the new visual shopping site, Riya looks like it has something pretty interesting.

I haven’t done any comparison to other visual search engines, but Gary Price added a nice list of links to some in the comments to a post on at Google Blogoscoped.

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Local Search at Rest, and Local in Motion

Mike Blumenthal, of Understanding Google Maps & Yahoo Local, and I have been discussing Google Local and the seeming inertia that keeps it from being the heavily traveled online destination that it could become.

As part of that discussion, I came up with a quick list of why Google Local might not be as accurate as it could be, and why it might not contain as much information as it could. I think that we both agreed that it has the potential to be used much more widely, and after I sent Mike this list, I started thinking about some of the patent applications and initiatives I’ve seen from Google that might make it a service used by more people, more quickly.

So, I’ll provide the list I sent to Mike first, and then a list of some of the things that could be in the pipewords for Google in the future.

Inertia in Local Search

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A new look for SEO by the Sea

I decided to go ahead with an update to the latest version of WordPress tonight after learning that one of the plugins I was using to stop spam was also stopping comments from people I wanted to hear from – the people who visit here, and are interested enough in something they read that they want to leave a comment.

Right now, I’m using a default wordpress template. I’ll be exploring some of the wordpress templates out on the web, and probably choose one and make some modifications to its look and coding. I’ve made a few plugin updates and additions, and have more to do. I also want to explore some of the new wordpress functionality I heard about at wordcamp 2006 this summer in San Francisco.

Added – I decided to try out Mike Cherim’s excellent and very accessible SeaBeast template. It may take a couple of days to set everything up. Nice work, Mike.