Smarter Google Maps Would Add Movement and Templates for Tasks

Would you use an internet mapping system that could show you changes in distances to places that you’ve identified as you move around?

How about one where specific templates could be created to show you information about locations to help you with tasks such as home hunting or school hunting or vacationing?

Google explores those kinds of abilities in a new patent application titled Dynamic Exploration of Electronic Maps (US Patent Application 20080059205).

Google Electronic Map

The templates for different tasks could be created by Google or Google users or by both. The maps might use some technology like AJAX to update distances and other information on the fly.

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Yahoo Automates Usability Consulting

How much might the usability of a web page matter to a search engine? If that search engine were to look at an approximation of the layout of a web page, it could try to understand how good of a user experience visiting that page might be, and evaluate the page based upon certain characteristics that it finds upon the page.

A patent application from Yahoo provides a long list of factors that it might look at to determine how usable a web page might be.

So why would a search engine be interested in determining the usability of a web page?

The authors of the document tell us that:

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The Importance of Page Layout in SEO

If a search engine could understand the layout of a web page and identify the most important part of a web page, it could pay more attention to that section of the page when indexing content from the page.

It could give links found within that section of the page more weight than links found in other sections of the page, and it could consider information within that area more weight when determining what the page is about.

We’ve seen the idea of breaking pages up into parts from a couple of the major commercial search engines:

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