Google Maps Using Photos to Identify Spam?

A couple of interesting patent applications surfaced at Google recently, involving the use of photography in Local Search, to identify whether or not businesses actually exist, or might be closed, or might be Web Spam.

Google Street View Car
Google Street View Car in Bristol, Byrion Smith, Some rights reserved

The first of these looks at Street Views images, and is:

Systems and Methods of Correlating Business Information to Determine Spam, Closed Businesses, and Ranking Signals
Inventors: Andrea Frome, Howard Wellington Trickey, Melanie Clements, Ethan G. Russell, Paul Eastlund, Diego Ariel Gertzenstein, Douglas Richard Grundman, Baris Yuksel
Assigned to: Google, Inc.
US Patent Application 20150154607
Published June 4, 2015
Filed: February 24, 2011

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Brands Entities at Google; Crowdsourcing their Identity in a Social Network

The “Buy” Button is coming to Google shopping Results, according to Recode which reported that Google Confirms ‘Buy Button’ Is Coming. (For more about a Buy Button, see also Barbara Starr‘s Google+ Post Actionable items in GOOGLE SERPS and the “buy button”). You may have seen the Moz White Board Friday this week where Rand Fishkin asked, and answered the question, Is Brand a Google Ranking Factor?

Secret Identity
My Secret Identity,
Thomas R. Stegelmann
, Some rights reserved

I left a comment at Moz, part of which, after some research, I’d like to retract some of. I wrote:

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How Google might fight Web Spam in Social Networks

For as long as SEOs have known, Google has had one person in charge of leading their fight against Webspam. His name was Matt Cutts, and his position had evolved over the years into that of being a mouthpiece for Google, speaking on actions that Google might take to fight web spam, and low quality content. Matt Cutts is presently on an extended leave of absence from Google.

my fingerprint (index, left hand), Stefano Mortellaro, Some Rights Reserved
my fingerprint (index, left hand), Stefano Mortellaro, Some Rights Reserved

News came out a few days ago, that Google would be replacing Matt Cutts as Google’s Head of Spam, but that news tells us that the new person in charge of WebSpam at Google wouldn’t be as vocal as Matt Cutts had been, nor reveal his or her identity.

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Lycos to Sell Off Patents?

I read today the news that early Search Engine Lycos is selling off their patents, presumably to enable them to launch other services. This was stated in the betaboston article Internet search pioneer Lycos puts patents up for sale.

I wondered how many patents Lycos might have, and what they covered, so I looked them up. Lycos hasn’t been around as a search engine for a few years, and yet it’s possible that there’s some value left in these patents. Some look very interesting, like the one about collections (Google just came out with a couple of patents on collections.) Here they are:

1) 9,015,176 Automatic identification of related search keywords

Abstract
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Google Patents How it May Make Recommendations for Spots to take Photos

A recently granted Google patent explains how Google may find and recommend locations for people to take pictures at. It describes how it might use something like Google Now to recommend “photogenic locations to visit.”

Downtown Carlsbad, Ca.
Downtown Carlsbad, Ca.

The patent tells us:

The present disclosure relates generally to systems and methods for recommending photogenic locations to visit. More particularly, the present disclosure relates to prompting a mobile device user that a photogenic location is nearby based on clusters of photographs.

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Early Panda and Concept Templates

In the blog post, Searching Google for Big Panda and Finding Decision Trees I tried to guess the identity of the Mysterious “Panda” that a recent (at that time) update was named after, as we had been told in a Wired Magazine Article.

Giant Timber Bamboo
Giant Timber Bamboo

I guessed Biswanath Panda. I guessed wrong.

I had changed my opinion of which Panda that Update was from when I wrote a couple of follow up posts:

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How Google May Calculate Site Quality Scores (from Navneet Panda)

This post is about a Google patent from a well-known Google Engineer, that describes ranking search query results at an internet search engine, such as Google.

DSC_0081

Google aims at identifying resources, of different types such as web pages, images, text documents, multimedia content, that may be relevant to a searchers situational and information needs and does so in a manner that they hope is as useful as possible to a searcher. They do this while responding to queries submitted by searchers.

One of the inventors from this patent carries one of the most well-known names at Google, the surname, “Panda.” which became well-known because of a Google update that was named after him in February 2011.

A focus of that update was upon improving the quality of sites that it targeted, and Navneet Panda specializes in site quality at Google. When I saw that a patent was granted this week that listed his name as an inventor, I looked forward to reading it, and seeing how it might attempt to define site quality, and how that definition might be used to rank search query results.

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How Google is focusing upon Building and Promoting Entity Collections

Added 11:48 AM (pst) May 3, 2015, H/t to Natzir Turrado, incoming news is that Google+ is introducing a new feature they are referring to as Collections, and that announcement from The Windows Club features the word “curation” prominently as do the two Google patent applications I write about in this post. Here’s how Susannah Lindsay in The Windows Club article uses the concept:

Google Plus users will get an opportunity to curate pieces of content into their collection, with others holding the permission of viewing, sharing, and following those collections as they please.

Added 12:15 Pm (pst) More on the rumored Collections feature at Google+: Google+ is Testing a New “Collections” Feature That Seems to be Part Pinterest, Part Blogging

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