A series of Google patent applications describe the use of an electronic textbook reader application that makes using an electronic textbook a much better experience than just reading a book on a screen.
I remember lugging around a lot of books while traveling to classes on foot or my bicycle, or even while driving to law school. As an English degree undergraduate, I got away with buying a lot of my books for literature classes from a used book store (I probably left with a few hundred dollars in trade-in credit). Many of those were paperbacks that didn’t put a burden on the backpacks I wore out in those years, but many others were weighty volumes. Especially the texts from law school. I couldn’t carry all of my law school texts at the same time if I wanted – they just took up too much space.
Google published 6 patents last week that cover different aspects of the use of electronic textbooks that attempt to capture some of the benefits of using real books while adding new value to the use of electronic texts. As the first patent I’ve listed notes:
I noticed earlier today that deCarta transferred 7 patents to Google in an assignment reported at the USPTO as being executed on July 31st and recorded with the patent office on August 28th. The patents are all older, orginally filed in 2000 through 2002. There are still 56 pending and granted patents on the USPTO site listed as assigned to deCarta at the patent office.
While the patents in this transaction are older, they still likely be relevant today to a company providing location-based services to mobile phone users. They involve such things as sharing of GPS-based (or other technology-based) locations among users and even connecting users based upon their locations. Another patent involves triggering a location based service such as receiving a notification when within a certain distance from a place such as a favorite restaurant. An additional patent involves sending advertisements to people as they approach specific businesses.
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.
A patent application was published today which describes the kind of intelligent automated assistant that we see in use on Apple’s iPhone 4S, known as Siri. But the patent isn’t necessarily limited to the iPhone application itself, and the describes how such a system could be used in a number of ways, including with mobile phones, PDAs, tablets, game consoles, embedded computer systems in cars, and possibly others. This assistant might provide information and services on a single client device or multiple devices, and possibly in combination with applications and information on servers as well.
It could also act as an active participant in messaging platforms such as email, instant messaging, discussion forums, group chat sessions, and customer support sessions.
Apple’s latest phone has a slick voice control feature named Siri that lets you tell your phone to do a number of different things, and can even power searches that it will answer for you. There’s been some speculation that type of verbal interaction might harm Google because it would bypass the search advertisements that are Google’s primary way of earning money. Looks like Google isn’t taking that possibility lightly.
Will the future of searching involve speech based searches that we do on our phones, with results shown on our TV? A Google patent application describes the possibility.
Imagine being able to subscribe to a service where public service agencies, advertisers, and friends may be able to leave you mobile messages when you drive through or arrive at a specific location.
Google acquired a series of related patents earlier this month that cover this kind of location-based service, originally filed by a Fairfax Virginia based company, Xybernaut Corporation.
A screenshot from one of the patents shows this system implemented as a navigational device, but the patent is written in a way that enables a system like this to be used by many different types of handheld devices as well. It’s possible that Google Maps Navigation could use this system, though it could also be built into other parts of a mobile phone system as well. And it has a potential social element to it as well.
The earliest of the patents was filed in December of 2000:
Use your smartphone camera to take a picture of text in a newspaper, a magazine article, or a book, and if it’s available online you can access it electronically. Take an image of a print advertisement and you may be able to visit an online transaction page to make a secure transaction.
Snap a shot of a phone number and click on it to make the call. Capture an address and you can pull up a map showing you were that address is located. In addition to Web documents, you can use Exbiblio to access your own documents on your computer.
Looking through the USPTO assignment database, I noticed that Google had been assigned a majority of the pending and granted patents assigned to Exbiblio this past February. The video below describes some of the features and functionality that Exbibilio’s technology offers, and notes that their intellectual property is available for licensing.
Google Goggles lets you search by taking a picture of landmarks, books, business cards, artwork, product labels, logos, and text. It can use Optical Character Recognition to transform text in an image to searchable text on the Web, reads barcodes, finds similar images in databases of artwork and landmarks and other databases. But, we’re only seeing the surface of the capabilities that a phone based visual search can offer with Google Goggles.
A Google patent application published this week shows us what Google’s visual Search for phones might evolve into. When you take a picture of a city street, your picture may include buildings, street signs, people’s faces, cars, and many other objects. If you send that picture as a query, the search engine might break the image into parts and search for many of the objects in the image, and give you a mix of search results based upon all of those parts.