Google Granted Patent on Mobile Machine Learning

That phone in your pocket is filled with applications, with sensors to measure movement and the world around us, with communications tools that put us in touch with work, home, family, friends, service providers and strangers.

That phone in your pocket is poised to teach itself how to work better, based upon how you use it, which applications you run, and how you use it to communicate with others.

A patent granted to Google last week explores different ways that parts and pieces of your phone can communicate with each other to remember settings in different contexts, to re-rank information based upon location and time and place, under a mobile machine learning system.

Imagine, for instance, landing at San Francisco International Airport to visit your brother. As you step off the plane, your phone resets its location and displays time and weather information on its home page for San Francisco. You open your phone, and the number for your limo appears at the top, with your hotel next, and then your brother’s home number (it would show his work number if it were earlier in the day).

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Ray Kurzweil Brings Poetry to Google

Earlier this week, I was fortunate enough to be invited to participate in a panel presentation on the future of SEO, in Raleigh, North Carolina. The event was the first Digital Marketing for Business Conference (and it was filled with some great sessions). The presentation wasn’t a PowerPoint and pitter-patter type talk.

Instead, I was joined by Russ Jones (The Google Cache) and Jenny Halasz (Archology) in somewhat of a free-for-all where we each exhibited our (biased) thoughts about where SEO would take us tomorrow. Conference Host and Q&A Moderator for the session, Phil Buckley had purposefully constructed a presentation where he asked questions and had each of us take turns answering, and responding to the other panelist responses as well. There were disagreements on some simple topics, and disagreement on some more complex topics, and oddly a lot of agreement as well.

Advice on the Future of SEO

In our final take-aways, as Phil asked for them, we had the chance to impart advice on one thing that people should pay careful attention to, and one thing that our audience members should absolutely do. I had the chance to start, and recommended that when people create content for their pages and research keywords that they carefully pay attention to the audience for their sites and the objectives of the sites themselves.

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The Noise Becomes the Signal – Voice Queries and Accent Scores

What May be Unique in Voice Queries?

Might a twang or a drawl influence the search results you see at Google? If you’re prone to calling an elevator a lift and tend to speak the Queen’s English in an accent similar to hers, you might see different search results than if you grew up in the Bronx or in New Orleans. If you sport a Polish accent or a Spanish one, and you perform voice searches on your phone, would receiving results in Polish or in Spanish because of your accent be a problem or a benefit? If your accent is Australian, and you search for “football” while in the US, would it surprise you to see some Australian Rules Football results returned to you?

Search engines have been using something called an Automated Search Recognition (“ASR”) engine to try to eliminate or reduce accents in voice queries by treating those as if they were noise. But the value of that noise might also be recognized as another signal that might improve search results.

A new patent was granted to Google yesterday that explores accents in voice queries in more depth. For instance, it provides this example of how a search engine might use such accent information:

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Category Relevant Search Results, Query Suggestions, and Advertisements Based on Location?

A couple of days ago, Mike Blumenthal of Understanding Google Places & Local Search asked a pretty timely question with the post Google Local: Are Mobile Signals Actively used in Ranking Local Results? Mike mentioned a post I wrote about Google research on using driving directions as a local search ranking signal.

Mike can add another example of how location may play a role in the rankings of local results.

Street cars in San Francisco.

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Google Patent Granted on Fresh Related Search Suggestions

When you search at Google, in addition to search results, Google often returns a set of search suggestions that might be related to your query. Last month, I wrote about how some of those suggested query refinements might be created follow a method invented in part by Ori Allon, in the post How Google is Generating Query Refinements the Orion Way. But that’s probably not the only source of search suggestions. A Google patent granted this week looks at how Google could grab additional refinements from very recent sources.

For example, the following search for “North Korea” shows a couple of very recent earthquake listings:

Google fresh search suggestions

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