Yahoo Patent Application Challenges Other Search Engines

Recently, the idea of a merger between Yahoo and Microsoft’s search was being taken pretty seriously, with a featured story on the rumor in the Wall Street Journal, and commentary on the topic appearing in a lot of blogs and other sources.

The Journal later noted that talks between Yahoo and Microsoft weren’t going on, but it left me wondering what we would see in a search engine that combined aspects of Yahoo’s search, and that from Microsoft’s live.com. Could that happen even without a merger?

Would Yahoo let searchers compare their results against other search engines head-to-head?

Yahoo Search Results Merged with Live.com

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Yahoo Information Navigation Interface

An intriguing set of patent applications from Yahoo describe an information navigation system that can be used to view pages from a collection of information in some interesting ways.

One of the things that makes it interesting is that it provides some different ways to navigate around information online and offline that stand a little outside of our normal experience with web browsers. When we design or develop pages for the Web, or tweak or change those pages, we deal with an environment that many are used to working with.

As handheld devices become a more popular way of interacting with the online world, we will be forced to look at things in a slight different manner.

One of the listed inventors, Daniel Rose, has published a pretty interesting paper a couple of years ago that details some of the activities that we participate in when we search which is worth a look if you haven’t seen it before: Understanding User Goals in Web Search (pdf)

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Geo Targeted Advertising for Google Maps and Google Earth

One of the challenges that face the people who make the online maps that we use to find directions, familarize ourselves with an area, find points of interest, and locate businesses is in how to monetize those maps.

Google has come up with a method that allows them to identify and locate boundaries around geographic regions, to enable a spatial index to be built to service geographically related advertisements based upon latitude and longitude coordinates from advertisers.

This system also identifies regions at different levels, such as city, metropolitan region, state, and country, so that ads targeted at those different regions, as seen in the map displayed to a searcher, can be shown to them.

This method is described in three new patent applications from Google published at the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). The patent applications themselves are interesting, in that they describe a method by which areas on a map can be broken down into small rectangular cells that can be identified as containing latitude and longitude coordinates, and also be related to specific geographic regions such as city, metropolis, region (i.e., state) or country.

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Google Holiday Logos and Ads Patent Application

I’m writing on the road, on a trip to upstate New York, and spent too long in airports and airplanes yesterday.

But I did get a chance to peek at some of the new patent applications from this week. Some interesting stuff, and one that isn’t too complex, but that I found interesting (making it the ideal subject for a quick blog post) is a Google patent filing on specialized advertising based upon holidays and locations.

This one was interesting because it focuses upon a method of decorating advertisements, and discusses the special holiday logos that Google has published on their web site over the past few years. It includes a gallery of logos, but unfortunately, the quality of the images that were filed with the patent application aren’t the highest quality. I did decide to add them to this post. They don’t include any of the Google logos used since the patent application was filed.

If you’ve seen some advertisements from Google’s content publishers program, and wondered why some ads carried special holiday themes, and others didn’t, there is some discussion in this document about the topic.

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How Linking Between Documents Could Have Allowed Google to Group Search Results

A new patent granted to Google this week explores a way of grouping together search results that deal with different topics as a result of a search for a specific query, by looking at the shared links pointing to pages within the search results.

With the process involved in this patent application being originally filed in 2000, I wonder if the folks at Google decided to follow other methods rather than the one described here. One of the screen shots show Google pages still has the word “beta” under Google in an image attached to the patent filing.

Google Beta

Some fun stuff going on in that screen shot, including PageRank indicators showing next to results, and an instruction above the results stating that “Clicking on a red bar searches for backlinks (Citations).” This must have been created in the days before a decision was made to make the pagerank indicators use a green bar. I’m not sure that we will see pagerank indications next to search results in the future.

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Welcoming our New Sponsor – Search Engine Guide

I’m proud and happy to announce that SEO by the Sea has a new sponsor, whom I’d like to thank and welcome to the site.

You may have noticed a new banner on the site, to the top and right of the page, from Search Engine Guide. As a source of information for small businesses on the Web, and a site that provides timely and thoughtful articles on search engines, search marketing, and small business, I’m proud of the association.

Welcome aboard to the Search Engine Guide team, and thanks for providing such an outstanding resource.