Some new Microsoft patent applications about the web, and indexing pages, from last week.
Keep in mind that these are just patent applications, and have not been granted as patents. They may be avenues of approaches that aren’t developed in the future, or may be the direction that Microsoft takes. They might be challenged by claims of prior art, or may be unique approaches to processes that may improve the way we find information on the web.
Regardless, they are all interesting as pieces of insight into how one search provider might address search in the future.
More efficient rankings
I want to preface this blog post by saying that it describes a patent application, and not Google’s actual future plans. What it describes may happen, or it may not.
Providing links to related documents
On many news sites, publishers will provide links to other articles on related subjects that may be of interest to the person looking at the document.
These related documents are usually based upon the content of the document being viewed, and often appear outside the content of the document – often in a footer or sidebar.
A patent application naming three Google senior research scientists as inventors describes a process that can automatically create a list of links to related documents, and insert those into the original document.
These links may be based in part on personal information gathered about the viewer.
Imagine joining a social network like Orkut or Friendster and having the chance to leave comments on local businesses, restaurants, and more, and having those endorsements show up in Google local results.
The folks at Google have imagined something like that, and have published a patent application that describes how it might be done.
Methods and systems for endorsing local search results
Inventors: Thomas Christopher Korte, Sumit Agarwal, and Celia Saino
United States Patent Application 20060004713
Filed: June 30, 2004
Published January 5, 2006
I’ve recently done some Google mobile searches, including a local search where a map and a telephone number was displayed for the pizza shop that I was looking for.
It’s a nice feature.
One thing I’ve wondered is if we will see ads from Google on mobile searches. If we do, this patent application published earlier today might describe a little about how they might work.
Advertisements for devices with call functionality, such as mobile phones
United States Patent Application 20060004627
Inventor: Shumeet Baluja
Published January 5, 2006
Filed: June 30, 2004
One of my favorite sites the last few months is Technorati.
Here’s part of the reason why:
For example, the blogosphere often “lights up” with respect to a particular topic (e.g., the President’s National Guard scandal, rollout of the iPod mini at MacWorld Expo, etc.) in response to a recent article or news report.
That is, many bloggers start “conversing” about the topic in response to the breaking of the news in the mainstream media.
Not only does the present invention enable tracking of these conversations, it also enables the identification of individuals who were talking about the topic before release of the news.
As will be understood, the ability to identify such “conversation starters” or influencers relating to particular topics is extremely valuable from a number of perspectives.
I hate doing the very same task over, and over, and over again. I’d bet search engines do, too.
Increasing the efficiency of search
Chances are that your choice of search engine, whether it’s Google, or Yahoo!, or MSN, or another, uses some methods to try to make what they do a little more efficient, and a little less costly to run.
Of course, popular searches are ones that lots of folks search for. If a search engine would process every search request as if it were a new one, and try to grab results from its index, or indexes, including searches that were repeated often, it could be reinventing the wheel frequently. But what if there was a way to speed that up?
What if that method created a significant savings in terms of time and processing power? What if it didn’t do a full search for the most popular terms over and over?
Caching results pages from popular searches
I’ve been running into a number of interesting, amusing, fun, and entertaining articles lately, and wanted to share some of them.
I’m finding myself in agreement with Jeff Jarvis, when he makes the following statement about Tagging at BuzzMachine. Interesting thought for companies like Google that want to organize the world’s information.
The web is about connections and the value that arises from them if you enable people to collect and communicate. In the old, big, centralised, controlled world of media, a few people with a few tools – pencils, presses and Dewey decimals – thought they could organise the world and its content. But as it turns out, left to its own devices, the world is often better at organising itself.
Speaking of Tagging, Gene Smith has a very nice recap of The Year in Tagging.
Barry Welford’s post at BPWrap on the Internet and the Enigma Machine had me thinking for days, and strangely (maybe not so strangely) wanting to reread Neal Stephenson’s Cryptonomicon.
I wanted to learn more about the history of Yahoo!, and made a post about Yahoo!’s Acquisitions Since Overture a week ago. I promised that I would followup with an additional post covering the remaining purchases.
I guess you should be careful about undertaking an inquiry like this.
The more I uncover, the more I find to write about.
Yahoo!’s earliest days saw them entering into partnerships and joint ventures with a number of companies.
At some point, Yahoo! started buying some of the companies that it worked with instead of working with those companies. There are a number of different reasons why, and some interesting stories behind some of those.