Google Tracking How Busy Places are by Looking at Location History

Getting Ducks in a Row
Getting Ducks in a Row

Google’s Location History Patent

Google Maps helps people navigate from place to place.

In order for it to work effectively, it’s helpful if it can track the location of the device that someone may be using to help them navigate.

It’s interesting how Google tracks your location history. I’ve noticed that after I take a photo near a business, Google will sometimes ask if I would like to upload that photo to the business listing for that business. Sometimes the photos aren’t relevant to the business I’ve taken them near, such as a photo of an Agave Plant that I took near a Seaside Market in Cardiff-by-the-Sea, California.

Google seems to like the idea of saving location history for people who might search for different types of businesses, and a recent patent that I wrote about described how Google might start using distances from a location history as a ranking signal (as opposed to a static distance from a desktop computer.) I wrote about that in Google to Use Distance from Mobile Location History for Ranking in Local Search.

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2016 Important Google Patents for SEO

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Google Patents from 2016

A couple of days ago, Gianluca Fiorelli published a thoughtful look at the Search Industry in past year, and the year to come at Moz titled SEO and Digital Trends in 2017. He included a graphic within that which listed things that he considered important events in the industry, including patents that had been granted in 2016. He listed patents that I had written about in that graphic, but hadn’t linked to them in the post, so I considered doing so, and mentioned in the comments that I likely would. I also wrote a number of posts on the Go Fish Digital Blog, and decided that I would link to some of the ones that were granted in 2016 as well.

Here are the Google patents granted in 2016 that I thought were interesting enough to write about this year, and something about what those Google patents do:

How Google May Map a Query to an Entity for Suggestions

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A New Search Results Evaluation Model from Google

A Search Results Evaluation Model Whitepaper

Search Results (SERPS) are no longer about showing pages that are ordered by rankings for a query term. A Google paper shows us a different way of thinking about them in our age of structured Snippets and featured snippets mixed with URL search results, with a Search Results Evaluation Model. The paper is:

Incorporating Clicks, Attention and Satisfaction into a
Search Engine Result Page Evaluation Model
by Aleksandr Chuklin, Google Research Europe & University of Amsterdam and Maarten de Rijke, University of Amsterdam

Search engine results have gone through some significant changes over the past couple of years. A paper from the CIKM’16 conference in October 24-28, 2016, recently published on the Research at Google pages describes some of the user behavior that may take place around search results. The benefit that the paper brings us is that it describes:

In this paper we propose a model of user behavior on a SERP that jointly captures click behavior, user attention and satisfaction, the CAS model, and demonstrate that it gives more accurate predictions of user actions and self-reported satisfaction than existing models based on clicks alone.

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Google Acquires Eye Tracking Startup Eyefluence and its Technology

Google Glasses aren’t the only Heads up Display that Google will likely use or demonstrate. Imagine that Google acquired technology that let you use your gaze as a mouse, and tracked your eye movements to see what you are looking at. Google has acquired such technology.

Google buys Eyefluence eye-tracking startup. Here is a pair of eye tracking glasses that Eyefluence has patented:

Eyefluence Eye Tracking Device
Eyefluence Eye Tracking Device

I looked up the granted patents and pending patent applications from Eyeinfluence. Some of these have the same name and are possibly continuation patents (with different claims). I’m seeing differences in the claims that are worth comparing to see how the technology behind them has been updated. With Google looking at Virtual Reality applications and likely more Augmented Reality applications, it’s good seeing them investing in other related technologies.

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