Category Archives: Media SEO

Google Watch Times Algorithm For Rankings?

Google was granted a patent this week about how Google may rank some search results.

The patent appears to be aimed at video content, but it tells us that it might be applied to how long someone might watch a page, after they’ve been delivered to the page, even if that page doesn’t contain video. The page may contain images or audio, and a watch time for that content might be tracked as well.


Regarding videos, the patent tells us that a score might be adjusted for resources like videos based upon how long people tend to watch that video content. That score might be boosted if people tend to watch the video for longer periods of time, and might be reduced if people historically tend to watch that video for shorter periods of time. This watch time score could be used to boost or demote a video in search rankings for a query.

The patent is:

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Google Media Consumption History Patent Filed

Google published a foreign patent at WIPO today that has an interesting perspective to it. When someone performs a search that involves a specific entity, their search may be influenced by the search engine’s knowledge of their past interactions with content involving that entity.

For example, someone searches for “Justin Timberlake” and the search system may have collected information about the searcher’s past consumption of content related to that entity, like having attended a concert featuring him, or a movie that he was in:

In some applications, the server-based system additionally receives and stores information describing the user’s consumption of the content. For example, the system can determine that the user viewed the movie “The Social Network” featuring “Justin Timberlake” on a particular date and at a particular location. The system can store the information at the media consumption history that identifies the particular date and the particular location where the user viewed the movie “The Social Network,” and can subsequently receive a request that identifies the user and “Justin Timberlake.” The system can provide a response to the request that includes information about “Justin Timberlake” and can also indicate that the user viewed the movie “The Social Network” that features “Justin Timberlake” on the particular date and at the particular location.

The patent application is:

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Google on Creating a Relevant Second Screen for TV

Google was granted a patent last week that looks like it might have been among one of the earliest patents filed by the company. It involves showing television programs (News Programs to be more exact), and showing web pages that might be relevant to the transcripts of the shows being presented to viewers.

Transcripts of TV queried to find relevant web pages

The details of this recently granted version of the patent filed are:

Finding web pages relevant to multimedia streams
Invented by Monika H. Henzinger, Bay-Wei Chang, and Sergey Brin
Assigned to Google Inc.
The Board of Trustees of the Leland Stanford Junior University
United States Patent 8,868,543
Granted October 21, 2014
Filed: April 8, 2003

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The Traditional News Agency is Dead (On Google News)

Neither The Nation or Computerworld should write about patents. Period. Never. In the past couple of days Computerworld posted a “breaking news” story about the publication of a Google patent application from 9 months ago (not breaking news). The Nation wrote a followup story on Computerworld‘s story, and made the same mistake.

Both saw optimism when they should have instead felt fear.

They weren’t publishing information about a 9 month old patent, but rather a ten year old patent. They would have known that if they ever wrote about patents. :)

It was an easy enough mistake to make, and one that most journalists will make if they don’t know much about patents, or don’t ask for the help of someone who does. It’s a story about how Google ranks stories in Google News, and what signals they might look at when deciding which source to feature out of a cluster of similar stories about similar topics.

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Electronic Payment Wallet Patents Acquired by Google

Did Google sidestep a lawsuit with an acquisition of patents involving electronic phone payments?

One initiative that Google has been hard at work on is making it easy for people to make payments electronically by phone. The Google Wallet has been available as an Android app on some phones, and it looks like it’s been moving beyond the need to use near field communications (NFC) to make payments.

Last year, on September 8, 2011, E-Micro Corporation filed a patent infringement lawsuit against a group of defendents, including: Google, Inc., Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd., Samsung Electronics America, Inc., Samsung Telecommunications America, L.L.C., Sprint Nextel Corporation, Sprint Spectrum L.P., Nextel Operations, Inc., Sprint Solutions, Inc.,, Inc., Best Buy Co., Inc. and BBY Solutions, Inc.

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Searching in Google’s Book Search (The SEO of Books?)

Unlike Web pages, there are no links in books for Google to index and use to calculate PageRank. There’s no anchor text in links to use as if it were meta data about pages being pointed towards. Books aren’t broken down into separate pages that have a somewhat independent existence of their own the way that Web pages do, with unique title elements and meta descriptions and headings. There isn’t a structure of internal links in a book, with file and folder names between pages or sections that a search engine might used to try to understand and classify different sections of a book, like it might with a website.

An image of a boy reading

A Google patent granted today describes some of the methods that Google might follow to index content found in books that people might search for. It’s probably not hard for the search engine to perform simple text based matching to find a specific passage that might be mentioned in a book. It’s probably also not hard to find all of the books that include a term or phrase in their title or text or which were written by a specific author. But how do you rank those? How do you decide which to show first, and which should follow?

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The Google Video Patent

Back in 2005, Google filed a patent application on Ranking video articles which gives some insights into Google’s future plans for what they might do with video, and some of the possible ranking algorithms they would consider using.

Google Video search went live in January of 2005, and its focus was in helping people find videos on the Web and on television, and providing a place for people to upload videos that could be watched from the service or embedded on other sites. The patent shows a screen that would allow you to enter your local TV provider:

A Google Video Preferences set up screen that would allow you to enter your zip code and TV listings provider.

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How a Search Engine Might Rank Videos Based Upon Video Content

Chances are that when you search for a video on Google or at YouTube, the results that you receive are based upon text about the video rather than the content of the video itself. The search algorithm involved might look at the title of the video, as well as a description and tags entered by the person who uploaded the video as well. Annotations on the video may also play a role in determining what terms and phrases the video may be determined to be relevant for as well.

For example, the video below announces Google’s new food recipe search option, and provides a detailed description about the new feature. But none of the text accompanying the video mentions that the person providing details about Google’s added functionality is one of Google’s executive chefs, Scott Giambastianai. If you search for [Google executive chef], you wouldn’t see this video appear in YouTube’s search results and you probably should.

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