Google Patents, Updated

If you took a look at Google’s patent portfolio recently, you might ask yourself, “What kind of company is this?” Is it a search engine or a smart phone company, a memory module manufacturer or a server maker? Does this company really own the rights to a weight loss patent titled, “Method Of Assaying Satiety Enhancing Tastants,” or is that accidentally listed by error from the patent office?

Google acquired a number of patents over the past few years, either by purchase or by license. Those include a good number of phone related patents from Verizon, patents involving video and streaming data from IBM, as well as hardware-related patents from patent holding companies. A few of the IBM patents are the kind you might license if you want to develop self-driving cars. There’s been a lot of discussion about Google’s many acquisitions of the past year, with 40 mentioned in their September 30, 2010 10-Q filing with the SEC, and a few more since then. But, Google’s acquisition of 77 granted patents from Verizon, and another 51 granted patents from IBM happened with absolutely no media attention as far as I can tell.

I’ve listed Google’s granted patents below, by category, and then by the name of the company that made the assignment of the patents to Google.

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Document Level Classifiers and Google Spam Identification

There have been a number of news opinion pieces and blog posts appearing on the Web in recent months telling us that Google has become less useful because of web spam from pages scraping content from other site as well as from low quality articles on content farms. Google’s head of Web Spam, Matt Cutts responded to those criticisms by announcing some new efforts at Google to make those kinds of pages not rank as well in search results. From the Official Google Blog, on January 21, 2011:

As we’ve increased both our size and freshness in recent months, we’ve naturally indexed a lot of good content and some spam as well. To respond to that challenge, we recently launched a redesigned document-level classifier that makes it harder for spammy on-page content to rank highly.

The new classifier is better at detecting spam on individual web pages, e.g., repeated spammy words—the sort of phrases you tend to see in junky, automated, self-promoting blog comments.

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