On Supplemental Results, Partitioned Indexing, and Extended Indexes

In The Anatomy of a Large-Scale Hypertextual Web Search Engine, Sergey Brin and Lawrence Page officially presented Google, and its use of hypertext to index documents on the Web and produce better search results.

If you’re interested in discovering how search engines work, there aren’t too many other starting points that might be better than that document.

A new patent granted to Google this week, System and method for selectively searching partitions of a database, gives us a deeper glimpse into the inner workings of a search engine and its index.

It describes how partitions can be used to make it faster and easier to search through the index of a search engine, and how rarer and less common results for queries might be kept in an extended index, which is also the topic of another patent granted to Google earlier this year that shares the same list of inventors and was filed on the same day, which I wrote about in Google Patent on Extended Search Indexes.

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Search, Buy, Receive Valuable Points, Provide Feedback to Rank Advertisements

Could consumer feedback from people clicking through search engine advertisements be used to help rank the ads, and the services and goods offered by advertisers?

Such a system might provide rebate points to advertisers, to supply to purchasers, who could turn in those points in exchange for goods and services after exchanging feedback on the transactions. The feedback could then be used in rankings of future advertisements.

A series of patent applications from Microsoft explore this approach. It’s an interesting system, and even Bill Gates is listed as an inventor on one of the documents. The descriptions in the documents are all substantially similar, and it’s worth trying to work through one of them to get out the ideas behind this system

Allocating Rebate points
Invented by Uriel Feige and Kamal Jain
Assigned to Microsoft
US Patent Application 20070179853
Published August 2, 2007
Filed: January 19, 2007

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Girl Scouts with Guns: Geographic Coding in Google Location Searches

You sometimes see some odd things when you perform searches in Google. For example, when I searched for [gun shops miami florida] I got this map amongst the results:

Google local search results on a search for gun shops in Miami Florida with the Girl Scouts as the top result

OK, I didn’t expect the Girl Scouts of America as the top result, and I find that part of the result pretty incomprehensible. But beyond that, it was interesting that I used “Florida” as my search term, and “FL” is shown as the query term in the search display that went with the map that shows up at the top of the search result.

Why did my query term change from the full state name to the abbreviation?

Location Searches

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Google on the Extraction and Visualization of Facts

Yesterday, I wrote about how Google might present facts extracted from pages in timelines or maps, according to patent application filed last week.

It wasn’t the only piece of intellectual property coming out of the US Patent and Trademark Office for Google on the extraction and visualization of facts. Another that maybe even more interesting describes the possibility of a user extracting facts found in a query of the fact database, and choosing to present those facts in a number of ways.

Designating data objects for analysis
Invented by Andrew W. Hogue, David J. Vespe, Alexander Kehlenbeck, Michael Gordon, Jeffrey C. Reynar, and David B. Alpert
US Patent Application 20070179965
Published August 2, 2007
Filed: January 27, 2006


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Google Timelines, Fact Maps, and Fact Relevance Rankings

Sometimes a list of search results isn’t always the best way to present information found in a search.

Google has recently come up with a couple of other interesting ways to show results related to a query, that might make you reconsider how you present dates and addresses on the pages of your website.

A map pointing out different facts related to a query might provide some interesting results:

A Map of Facts From a Google Patent Application

Likewise, a timeline could show you some things that you might not expect to see from a search engine, especially if the facts used in response to the query came from different web pages:

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Search Indexing Dead Ends: IBM Patent Explores Dangling Nodes

Someone is randomly clicking on links through your site, and looking at and reading those pages. They come to a page that has no links on it. Where do they go next? What kind of impact do those pages have on rankings for your site’s pages.

Nodes and Dangling Nodes in Ranking Web Pages

Many ranking systems use graphs to represent and analyze information structures. On the Web, pages can be seen as “nodes” and the links between pages as “edges.” Ranking those nodes, or pages, in those graphs by their quality or importance can be a valuable approach.

PageRank is one of the systems that uses the idea of nodes and edges to score pages on the web, and the technique of PageRank can also be applied to the scoring of nodes in other types of networks.

A patent from IBM attempts to provide some improvements to the PageRank algorithm, and other similar information graphs when looking at a specific type of node, known as a “dangling node.”

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