PostRank and the Importance of Social Engagement Metrics to SEO

There are many sites that curate content and links on the Web, including many blogs and a number of social sites that do it through submissions by their members, who can also vote upon those submissions. The inventors of PostRank came up with an algorithmic approach to rank articles and blog posts and other content on the Web, and present it to people based upon those rankings. I’ve found a patent application at the USPTO that provides some insights and details on how their approach worked.

Google acquired PostRank last June, as was announced on the PostRank blog on June 3, 2011. Given Google’s increasing move towards looking at more social signals for the potential ranking of content shared by others, it’s worth wondering how this technology might be used by Google, and what the PostRank team might be bringing to the effort. PostRank Co-founder Ilya Grigorik, who now appears to be a web performance analyst with Google, noted in the post announcing the acquisition:

We know that making sense of social engagement data is important for online businesses, which is why we have worked hard to monitor where and when content generates meaningful interactions across the web. Indeed, conversations online are an important signal for advertisers, publishers, developers and consumers—but today’s tools only skim the surface of what we think is possible.

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Google Acquires Indoor/Outdoor Wireless Location Patents

It’s no surprise that Google wants to not only map and provide location-based services in the world outdoors, but also for the insides of shopping malls, airports, museums, transit stations, and other large indoor spaces. A couple of recent tech posts brought to light an effort by Google to use a new chip from broadcom to possibly start supporting indoor positioning location and directions. From extremetech, we learned more about this technology in Think GPS is cool? IPS will blow your mind

The Broadcom chip supports IPS through WiFi, Bluetooth, and even NFC. More importantly, though, the chip also ties in with other sensors, such as a phone’s gyroscope, magnetometer, accelerometer, and altimeter. Acting like a glorified pedometer, this Broadcom chip could almost track your movements without wireless network triangulation. It simply has to take note of your entry point (via GPS), and then count your steps (accelerometer), direction (gyroscope), and altitude (altimeter).

In Betabeat’s Get Ready for IPS: Like GPS, Except the Signal Is Coming FROM INSIDE THE BUILDING we learned about the Google connection to IPS, or Indoor Positioning Systems. It appears that Google has already implemented this technology. I was pretty excited to read about how this kind of technology, and even more surprised to come across a new patent assignment listed at the USPTO earlier today. Google was assigned 85 pending and granted patents from Terahop Networks. The assignment was executed on 3/23/2012, and recorded at the USPTO on 2/23/2012.

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Google Praises SEO, Condemns Webspam, and Rolls Out an Algorithm Change

Yesterday, Google’s Distinguished Engineer Matt Cutts published a post on the Google Webmaster Central Blog titled Another step to reward high-quality sites that started out by praising SEOs who help improve the quality of web sites they work upon. The post also noted:

In the next few days, we’re launching an important algorithm change targeted at webspam. The change will decrease rankings for sites that we believe are violating Google’s existing quality guidelines.

We’ve always targeted webspam in our rankings, and this algorithm represents another improvement in our efforts to reduce webspam and promote high quality content.

This isn’t something new, but it sounds like Google is turning up the heat some on violations of their guidelines, and we’ve seen patents and papers in the past that describe some of the approaches they might take to accomplish this change.

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Google Acquires Circuit City Home Video Rental Patents

Google is expanding into areas that we probably couldn’t have anticipated or guessed they might charge into only a few years ago, and it looks like they are being careful to dot all the i’s and cross all the t’s along the way. A division of Circuit City developed video technologies in the late 90s that could be useful in today’s age of internet video rentals, including ways to restrict access of videos to people who rented them, and technology to help keep those videos from being pirated.

Last spring, it appears that those patents went up for sale. At the USPTO assignment database, Google was assigned the patents in an assignment executed on March 9, 2012, and recorded on April 20, 2012. No telling when Google actually purchased the patents, or what the terms of the deal were, but Google did announce last May that they would start offering movies for rent on the Android market, as well as making rental videos available on a YouTube Store in April.

Google introduced an entertainment hub they call Google Play this March, and you can rent videos there. The Android Market became part of Google Play when it launched.

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Bing’s Search Plus Your World?

While Google’s social search activities have been fairly well publicized and discussed, and in some areas criticized, Bing appears to be fairly busy working on their own social search approach a little more quietly…

When Google introduced their Search Plus Your World social search results this past January, they were to a degree following in the footsteps of Bing, who announced last May that they would deliver Facebook based social search results when you’re logged into Facebook and searching at Bing, in their blog post Facebook Friends Now Fueling Faster Decisions on Bing.

People often share a fair amount of information about themselves on social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook including what they are presently doing, how they feel and more. An interview by Eric Enge of Stone Temple Consulting, Paul Yiu, who runs Bing Social Search, uncovers some aspects of how Bing’s personalized social search works.

The post, titled Author Authority and Social Media with Bing’s Paul Yiu uncovers some aspects of Bing’s approach to social search that you might not have been aware of if you haven’t been paying attention. The post provides a convenient overview before the start of the interview on how Bing might be calculating things like authorship authority from Twitter (and likely Facebook as well).

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Google Acquires Unisys Patents, Including a Java API Patent

Google appears to be continuing a trend that sees it acquiring intellectual property from some of the most well known names in the technology field (including Xerox, IBM, Hewlett Packard, and other acquisitions), by acquiring 36 granted patents from Unisys Corporation, in an assignment that was recorded at the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) on April 17th, and executed on February 29th, 2012.

The patent office doesn’t record information such as the financial terms of the transfer. Unisys will be reporting upon its first quarter 2012 financial results next Tuesday, April 24th, and maybe we’ll find out more then.

Google is presently in the fourth day of a patent infringement case initiated by Oracle, and both sides are supposedly having some problems explaining what an Application Programming Interface (API) is to the jury in the case. I have to confess that I would have some problems understanding some of the issues involved in the case as well.

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Google Acquires Glasses Patents

Last week, Google announced that they would be developing a pair of augmented reality glasses that would present informational displays to users based upon voice and motion commands, at their Google Plus Project Glass page. The announcement was accompanied by a video showing a mockup demo of how the glasses might work:

Google acquired three patents from former Indy 500 driver Dominic Dobson’s Motion Research Technologies, Inc., on March 30th, according to the USPTO’s patent assignment database. The assignment was recorded by the patent office as taking place on April 12th, 2012. The patents appear to have gone up for sale originally in March of 2011. A followup post on the Project Glass page responded to questions as to whether Google’s Glasses might work with prescription glasses. Interestingly, one of the patents acquired describes how it might work with eyeglasses as well:

A screenshot from patent 7,631,968 B1 showing a display device clipped on to a pair of glasses.

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