A new patent application invented by Dr.Tomasz Imielinski, Vice President of Relevance and OnLine Systems at Ask.com, explores how a search engine can map user queries to answers to those queries.
In a conventional search engine, a query such as “Bill Clinton’s Wife” might provide search results about Bill Clinton. A query for “George H. Bush’s children” might be about George Bush. A question about who won the last Masters may have been made without knowing that there are two different major sports tournaments that go by that name – one in golf and one in tennis.
The answers to these types of questions can be provided from a structured database. The creation of this database itself isn’t described in this patent filing, though some details on updates of the information are described, and it appears that multiple databases may be involved, such as one containing information from blogs, and another from news sources.
When answers are provided to a searcher, and there may be more than one possible answer such as in the Masters’ example, other information may be looked at, such as:
last modification date,
file creation date,
file content source, and/or;
A user profile may be used to rank the files.
If there is an almost equal likelihood that either answer may be correct, the search engine might show both results.
System and method for responding to a user query
Invented by Tomasz Imielinski
US Patent Application 20070073651
Published March 29, 2007
Filed: September 23, 2005
This invention provides a system and method for responding to a user query. An identifier identifies an answer to a user query based on data in one or more structured data collections. A search engine in communication with the identifier searches, based on the answer, a systematically-generated, automatically-updated index of files to identify a file associated with the answer. A ranker in communication with the search engine ranks the identified files. A generator in communication with the search engine generates a response to the query based on a result of the searching. In one application, the system is used to provide an answer portal.