Yahoo! and Microsoft at the Patent Office

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A new patent from Yahoo! was granted this morning. Note that the classifications being talked about aren’t based upon relevance, but rather upon categories that documents being retrieved by the search engine might belong to, such as ones based upon language or region.

Associating documents with classifications and ranking documents based on classification weights
Inventors: Hongyuan Zha and Sean Suchter
Assigned to Yahoo! Inc.
US Patent 7,028,027
Granted April 11, 2006
Filed: September 30, 2002


A method and apparatus for associating documents with classification values and ranking documents based on classification weights is provided.

It is determined if a document is associated a classification. If the document is associated with a classification, then it is determined if a classification value, which is associated with the document, is associated with a weight.

If the classification value is associated with a weight, then a rank of the document is adjusted based on the weight that is associated with the classification value.

This patent application involving Support Vector Machine (SVM) classifiers is recorded as being assigned to Overture. We’ve been hearing a lot about neural networks when it comes to Microsoft. Fun to see Yahoo! looking at another approach to classification.

Method and apparatus for efficient training of support vector machines
Inventors: Sathiya Keerthi Selvaraj and Dennis M. DeCoste
US Patent Application 20060074908
Published April 6, 2006
Filed: September 24, 2004


The present invention provides a system and method for building fast and efficient support vector classifiers for large data classification problems which is useful for classifying pages from the World Wide Web and other problems with sparse matrices and large numbers of documents.

The method takes advantage of the least squares nature of such problems, employs exact line search in its iterative process and makes use of a conjugate gradient method appropriate to the problem.

In one embodiment a support vector classifier useful for classifying a plurality of documents, including textual documents, is built by selecting a plurality of training documents, each training document having suitable numeric attributes which are associated with a training document vector, then initializing a classifier weight vector and a classifier intercept for a classifier boundary, the classifier boundary separating at least two document classes, then determining which training document vectors are suitable support vectors, and then re-computing the classifier weight vector and the classifier intercept for the classifier boundary using the suitable support vectors together with an iteratively reindexed least squares method and a conjugate gradient method with a stopping criterion.


The Redmond Washington giant had a busy week at the US Patent and Trademark Office last week. I’ve discussed a couple of the patent applications that they had published lately, and there are more.

System and method for scoping searches using index keys
Inventors: Chadd Creighton Merrigan, Kyle G. Peltonen, Dmitriy Meyerzon, and David J. Lee
Assigned to Microsoft Corporation
US Patent Application 20060074865
Published April 6, 2006
Filed: September 27, 2004


A set of index keys is included in an index search system that are associated with the scope of the search rather than the content of the documents that are the target of the search.

These scope related index keys, or scope keys allows the scope of the search to be selected, reducing the number of documents that a search is required to sift through to obtain results.

Furthermore, compound scopes are recognized and stored such that an index of complex search scopes is provided to eliminate rehashing of the searches based on these complex search scopes.

Query graphs
Inventors: Eric D. Brill, Hugo Zaragoza, Robert J. Ragno, and Silviu-Petru Cucerzan
Assigned to Microsoft Corporation
US Patent Application 20060074870
Published April 6, 2006
Filed: September 30, 2004


The present invention leverages query-related information based on a query and/or a search intention to provide a systematic means to facilitate a user in locating desired information despite lacking exact search parameters.

This allows users to find information without first formulating an optimum search query. The query graph provides a navigable, graphical notion of the query-related information via nodes representative of the query-related information and edges representative of the associations between the information.

In one instance of the present invention, the query graph is derived from an information source such as a query log, a query list, and/or a search engine and the like.

Additional instances of the present invention utilize visual and/or audible indicators employed with the query graph to facilitate in relaying the query-related information to the user, including, but not limited to, overlays, icons, colors, and dimensional variances and the like.

Forming intent-based clusters and employing same by search
Inventors: Blake E. Anderson, James C. Finger, Jennifer J. Marsman, Kuldeep Karnawat, Mark B. Mydland, Paul M. Malolepsy, and Thomas D. White
Assigned to Microsoft Corporation
US Patent Application 20060074902
Published April 6, 2006
Filed: September 30, 2004


A method is provided for analyzing a plurality of search sessions to identify intent-based clusters therein.

Each session comprises at least one received query from a user and a corresponding set of returned search results, and each set of search results includes or refers to at least one piece of content. Each cluster represents a group of similar search sessions that are perceived as representing a common purpose and that can be mapped to a common set of search results.

In the method, for each search session, each received query thereof, the corresponding set of search results, and whether any particular piece of content of the search results was acceptable to the user as responsive to the corresponding search session are identified. Thereafter, search sessions are grouped into clusters.

System and method for performing a search and a browse on a query
Inventors: Raman Chandrasekar, James Charles Finger II, Sally K. Salas, and Eric Benjamin Watson
Assigned to Microsoft Corporation
US Patent Application 20060074891
Published April 6, 2006
Filed: November 14, 2005


A search and a browse on a single user query is performed. A refined query is selected from the results of the first user query.

Thereafter, a list of concepts from a first directory associated with the refined query is obtained. The concepts are defined in a hierarchical relationship with concepts having broader scope being higher in the hierarchy and concepts having a narrower scope being lower in the hierarchy.

Additionally, a list of web sites associated with the search concept is obtained from a second directory.

Systems, methods, and interfaces for providing personalized search and information access
Inventors: Jaime Brooks Teevan, Susan T. Dumais, and Erick J. Horvitz
Assigned to Microsoft Corporation
US Patent Application 20060074883
Published April 6, 2006
Filed: October 5, 2004


The present invention relates to systems and methods that employ user models to personalize generalized queries and/or search results according to information that is relevant to respective user characteristics.

A system is provided that facilitates generating personalized searches of information. The system includes a user model to determine characteristics of a user. The user model may be assembled automatically via an analysis of a user’s content, activities, and overall context.

A personalization component automatically modifies queries and/or search results in view of the user model in order to personalize information searches for the user.

A user interface receives the queries and displays the search results from one or more local and/or remote search engines, wherein the interface can be adjusted in a range from more personalized searches to more generalized searches.

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