Google on Letting Searchers Remove Pages from the Web

In the future, we may all be able to join Google Engineer Matt Cutts in fighting spam on Google. Or at least in removing pages from our searches and browsers.

A new patent application from Google points at giving people the power to remove pages or even sites from web searches and browsing. Matt Cutts is one of the co-authors. (You may have seen this before as a Google experiment.)

Why remove pages?

Sometimes the search results include a web page that the user deems undesirable. This web page may be deemed undesirable by the user because the web page is spam, the web page relates to content unrelated to the user’s interests, the web page contains content that the user dislikes or finds offensive, or for some other reason.

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Google Open Source and Open Standards

Some of Google’s past hires involve people who are pretty well known in the open source and open standards worlds.

Last week, Kevin Marks noted on his blog that he had recently become Begoogled, and is now a software engineer at Google. He was a principal engineer for Technorati, after working for Apple and the BBC. He is a founding member of Microformats and the Social Software Alliance.

Google is known for heralding open source software development, and using open source software. There’s a nice interview with Google’s open-source programs manager, Chris DiBona, from last December: Newsmaker: A look inside Google’s open-source kitchen

I thought it would be fun to find some of the other folks who have worked on open source or open standards projects before joining Google. By no means is this list complete. I suspect that I’m just scratching the surface.

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Ask.com Patent on Optimizing Search Results Pages Based Upon User Activity

As a web site owner or online advertiser, it often makes good sense to look over statistics involving how people use your web site or your ads to see if pages might be changed to make them more user friendly, and increase the amount of sales or conversions that you make.

You might test different landing pages when you used paid advertising, or move different elements around on your site’s pages to see how people react to those changes.

Search engines often do the same type of thing, not only with the layout of their pages, but also with the results that they may present to searchers.

A new patent assigned to IAC Search and Media, Inc. (owners of Ask.com) describes how user data might be analyzed to help improve the look and feel of results pages, and the rankings of results, shown to users of a search engine.

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Mobile Patent Applications Roundup – 2-19-2007 – Personalized Phone Numbers

Like people to be able to spell out a word on their phone, and have that associated with a Plain Old Telephone Service line, as an alternative to an 800 number? I wouldn’t mind having a single phone number could be used for either my mobile phone, or my landline – with me chosing which phone calls go to. Those are two of the subjects of a number of new patent applications involving mobile phones.

Mobile Automated Message Responses

Method and device for enabling message responses to incoming phone calls
Palm, Inc. (2007003628)

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Does Linden Research Patent Point to the Future of Second Life?

If you haven’t visited the web site for Second Life, or heard about it, you’ve missed one of the more interesting things happening on the web these days. As their What is Second Life page states:

Second Life is a 3-D virtual world entirely built and owned by its residents. Since opening to the public in 2003, it has grown explosively and today is inhabited by a total of 3,744,619 people from around the globe.

There are a number of real world businesses that have set up virtual world versions of their businesses in Second Life, and there are marketers who offer services helping businesses develop a presence in Second Life.

While searching through internet related patent applications this weekend, I came across a couple of recent patent applications involving virtual worlds, and they made me wonder what patent filings the developers of Second Life had made. The company behind Second Life is Linden Lab.

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Microsoft on Blog Rolls and Ranking Blog Content

Looks like the folks in Redmond, Washington, are talking about blogs. A new paper and new patent application from Microsoft explore interfaces and algorithms for bloggers and blog users to learn more about topics discussed on blogs.

The paper explores the idea of a smarter blogroll, that might help visitors to a blog learn more about what’s happening behind the names that they see on those blogrolls. Eric Baumer, who worked on the project as a summer intern, provides a nice summary of the Smarter blogroll project.

Smarter Blogroll: An Exploration of Social Topic Extraction for Manageable Blogrolls

This paper is interesting in that the smarter blogroll may not have been as successful or as well received at its creators may have hoped amongst the people that they tested it with, but their findings point to some interesting next steps to take.

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