Google Patent on Web Spam, Doorway Pages, and Manipulative Articles

How May Google Handle Manipulative Articles it Finds on the Web?

A patent granted to Google today explores Webspam and manipulative articles and links on the Web. It describes how the rankings of pages may be influenced if they are identified as “manipulative.”

The identification of manipulative articles and how they might be grouped together, and how they could be treated by the search engine is described in some detail. That treatment might include removal of pages from the search index, reductions in rankings for pages, and possibly a change in how quality scores (PageRank) are calculated for links from manipulative articles.

The patent was filed almost 4 years ago, on December 10, 2003, and wasn’t granted until today.

A good number of papers and patent applications have been published since then on Webspam, and have explored more detailed approaches, but this patent is interesting in that captures some aspects of how Google may have been detecting and fighting Web spam over the past few years (and may still be).

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Landing Pages and Google’s Website Optimizer Patent Applications

(Updated 11/26/2007 at 4:30pm to clarify the relationship between Google Website Optimizer and Google Analytics)

Google introduced a new tool in October of last year, the Website Optimizer, that enables website owners to test out different versions of pages on their website. Some new patent applications from Google focus upon testing and optimizing landing pages for conversions, using a tool that is very much like the Website Optimizer.

There’s a lot of supporting documentation from Google on how to use their Website Optimizer tool, including a detailed Quick Start Guide, and a couple of videos:

  • Introduction to Website Optimizer Webinar
  • Website Optimizer: Creating and Launching Experiments

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Google on Generating Statistics from Search Engine Query Logs (Google Trends and More)

How might statistics created from user query logs be useful to search engines and to searchers?

A Google patent application published at the World Intellectual Property Organization, Systems and Methods for Generating Statistics from Search Engine Query Logs (opens in new window), explores how such statistics might be created.

The filing lists Olcan Sercinoglu, Artem Boytsov, and Jeffrey, A. Dean as inventors, and was filed with WIPO on May 9, 2007. It was published on November 22, 2007, and appears to show the process behind Google Trends. But it provides much more information than that.

A real life example which expands upon how such statistics might be useful is a study that was conducted with the help of two of the inventors listed in the patent filing, Language Preferences on Websites and in Google Searches for Human Health and Food Information.

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Innovation After Google?

Where will many Google employees be five years from now? How many will be running their own technology companies, and pursuing their own projects? How many will be investing in other companies, and helping to drive innovation?

Georges Harik was one of Google’s first 10 employees, the Director of Googlettes and a Distinguished Engineer at Google. He’s been involved in financially backing a number of startups, and is involved in a project by Pagebites, Inc., which may be poised to bring some interesting twists to online communications with

Under Georges Harik’s watch, the Googlettes worked upon efforts involving Gmail, Google Talk, Google Video, Picasa, Orkut, Google Groups and Google Mobile. He was also a co-developer of the technology behind AdSense and the Google Search Appliance.

He worked upon the first product plan for the AdWords Online system. A number of the Google patent filings I’ve written about here have his name on them as inventor.

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Monetizing Google Platforms?

The evolution of language used to discuss a topic can be interesting. One of the words that seems to be increasingly tied to Google is “platform,” as in the Android mobile platform and the Opensocial platform.

Mike Elgan wrote an interesting post earlier this month about a combination of these platforms in Making the Google Phone, OpenSocial connection. Mobile social networks seem like a great combination.

In working to create these applications, Google could make it easier for developers to put together applications that can be used across social networking sites and across different mobile devices, or both as Mike Elgan points out.

A Google patent application from last week explores how the development and use of applications could become even more affordable to developers. The abstract from the patent filing tells us:

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