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New Search Patent Filings: August 27, 2006 - Google's Recommendations, IBM's Speedier Pagerank, Napster's Search

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Google looks at search history and user behavior to rerank results and offer ecommerce recommendations, provides a way to rewrite navigation on web pages for users of a proxy system to access the web, and shows some of the inner workings of Desktop Search.

IBM was granted a patent based upon providing advertisements to people based upon sites that they have visited, another that allows people to download information from specified pages which can be indexed and searched locally, a way of speeding up pagerank, and a method for organizing bookmarks.

Microsoft published a couple of patent applications, one which looks at using game playing to provide user rankings for web pages, and a method of providing contextual advertisements for non-textual content.

Napster's peer-to-peer filing sharing system is described in a patent originally filed in August, 2000.

Google

This patent from Google describes a way to use past search history and user behavior to rerank search results and provide ecommerce based recommendations.

Interface and system for providing persistent contextual relevance for commerce activities in a networked environment
Invented by Donald R. Turnbull and Hinrich Schuetze
Assigned to Google
United States Patent 7,089,237
Granted August 8, 2006
Filed on January 26, 2001

Abstract

A search and recommendation system employs the preferences and profiles of individual users and groups within a community of users, as well as information derived from categorically organized content pointers, to augment electronic commerce related searches, re-rank search results, and provide recommendations for commerce related objects based on an initial subject-matter query and an interaction history of a user. The search and recommendation system operates in the context of a content pointer manager, which stores individual users' content pointers (some of which may be published or shared for group use) on a centralized content pointer database connected to a network. The shared content pointer manager is implemented as a distributed program, portions of which operate on users' terminals and other portions of which operate on the centralized content pointer database. A user's content pointers are organized in accordance with a local topical categorical hierarchy. The hierarchical organization is used to define a relevance context within which returned objects are evaluated and ordered.

Rewriting parts of pages through a proxy server, for use with mobile devices, is the focus of this patent granted to Google. It shows a method of understanding what parts of a page is navigation, in addition to determining which navigation may be ideally rewritten for a handheld.


Identifying navigation bars and objectionable navigation bars
Invented by Chade-Meng Tan and Daniel Dulitz
Assigned to Google
United States Patent 7,089,490
Granted August 8, 2006
Filed on November 30, 2000

Abstract

Detecting so-called "navigation bars" (or "nav bars") in a (Web) document by determining whether or not nodes of a parse tree of the (Web) document are "anchor-heavy". Generally, a navigation bar can be thought of as text, such as a hyper-text link or anchor text for example, without any immediate content. Once a navigation bar is detected, objectionable navigation bars (i.e., navigation bars, the rendering of which would be objectionable to users without special re-authoring), can be distinguished from non-objectionable navigation bars (i.e., navigation bars which would not be objectionable to users with no special re-authoring). Objectionable navigation bars may be distinguished from non-objectionable navigation bars by: (a) determining whether the navigation bar is so small that normal rendering would not be objectionable; (b) determining whether the navigation bar presumably conveys meaningful content; and/or (c) determining whether the navigation bar is a component of a non-objectionable navigation bar (where all components of the non-objectionable navigation bar are navigation bars themselves).


One of the inventors listed in the following patent application, Tomas Gunnarsson, is a Google Desktop Software Engineer according to a post he made in the Google Blog on a "quick search" for Desktop Search. It appears that this patent filing looks at some of the inner workings of Desktop Search.


Access to a target object with desired functionality
Invented by Johann Tomas Sigurdsson and Tomas Gunnarsson
Assigned to Google
US Patent Application 20060179441
Published August 10, 2006
Filed on February 10, 2005

Abstract

A system and method provide access to a target object associated with a desired functionality. This is accomplished by creating an instance of a pre-existing object, replacing one or more functions of a table shared by all objects of the object's class, and triggering a call that ultimately causes the replacement functions to be called to allow access to the target object. The system includes software portions for enabling the method.


IBM

As a person surfs the web, the process in this patent describes a way of collecting keywords from pages visited to target appropriate advertising for that user.

Method and apparatus for providing reduced cost online service and adaptive targeting of advertisements
Invented by Viktors Berstis and Herman Rodriguez
Assigned to IBM
United States Patent 7,089,194
Granted August 8, 2006
Filed on June 17, 1999

Abstract

A method and apparatus for adaptively targeting advertisements to a specific client computer from a server within a distributed data processing system is provided. As a user of the client browses the World Wide Web, the material that is downloaded to the client constitutes a datastream. At some location during the routing of the datastream, either on the server or at the client, the datastream is scanned to generate a list of keywords that are present within the datastream. The datastream may be analyzed in real-time or cached and analyzed on a delayed basis. The generated list of keywords represents a summary of the content that appears to be the focus of interest of the user. The keywords are compared against a database of advertisements, and the server selects an advertisement that matches the user's area of interest in comparison to the analysis of the user's browsing history. The selected advertisement is then inserted into the datastream to be routed to the client. In consideration for viewing targeted advertisements and to entice a Web viewer to allow the monitoring of a datastream so that targeted advertisements may be placed into the datastream, a Web viewer may receive online connection service for free, for a reduced cost, at a premium level of service, or for other some other value, such as frequent viewer credits that may be exchanged for goods and services.


Method and system for searching for web content
Invented by Michael James Osias
Assigned to IBM
United States Patent 7,089,233
Granted August 8, 2006
Filed on September 6, 2001

Abstract

The present invention provides a method and system for searching for web content. Specifically, the present invention provides a system and method for retrieving web content from designated web pages and hyperlinks, indexing the retrieved web content in a local database, and searching the local database for desired web content. Retrieved content is indexed in the local database so that future access of the web content can be more efficient.


System and method for rapid computation of PageRank
Invented by John Anthony Tomlin, Andrew S. Tomkins, and Arvind Arasu
Assigned to IBM
United States Patent 7,089,252
Granted August 8, 2006
Filed on April 25, 2002


Abstract

A method of ranking a plurality of linked documents. The method comprises obtaining a plurality of documents, and determining a rank of each document. The rank of each document is generally a function of a rank of all other documents in the plurality of documents which point to the document and is determined by solving, by equation-solving methods (including Gauss-Seidel iteration and partitioning) of a set of equations wherein:.alpha..alpha..times..times..times..times. ##EQU00001## where x.sub.i is the rank of the page indexed by i, .alpha. is a number strictly between 0 and 1.0, the summation is over all indices j such that page j points to page i, and a.sub.ij is defined to be the reciprocal of the number of links pointing out from page j (denoted d.sub.j) if page j points to page i, and zero otherwise.


Conditional promotion of bookmarks
Invented by Cary L. Bates, Gilford F. Martino, John M. Santosuosso, and Vincent T. Timon, III
Assigned to IBM
United States Patent 7,089,305
Granted August 8, 2006
Filed on September 25, 2001

Abstract

A method and system for organizing bookmarks. A bookmark structure includes a main bookmark list and at least one bookmark folder. A bookmark search list, which includes at least one bookmark in the bookmark structure, is generated. Software is executed, wherein the software searches each bookmark on the bookmark search list through depth N (N.gtoreq.0). The searching determines whether the bookmark satisfies an upgrade condition. The upgrade condition includes a boolean text expression and may also include at least one of: a client visitation condition, a general visitation condition, a bookmark existence condition, a content-type condition, a URL-age condition, and a Top-Level-Domain (TLD) condition. If the searching determines that the bookmark satisfies the upgrade condition and that the bookmark is not in the special bookmark location, then the bookmark is moved to the special bookmark location.

Microsoft

Improving quality of web search results using a game
Invented by Luis von Ahn Arellano and Josh D. Benaloh
Assigned to Microsoft
US Patent Application 20060179053
Published August 10, 2006
Filed on February 4, 2005

Abstract

A system combines individual estimates of the subjective appeal of web pages into a combined rating for each web page that can be used to rank web pages during a web search. In a gaming implementation, a web page recipient estimates the combined rating that other recipients of the web page have formulated. The recipient can be rewarded for accurately estimating the combined rating by receiving a subsequent web page that possesses a high rating.


Image and other analysis for contextual ads
Invented by Carl M. Kadie, Joshua T. Goodman, and Christopher A. Meek
Assigned to Microsoft
US Patent Application 20060179453
Published August 10, 2006
Filed on February 7, 2005

Abstract

The subject invention provides a unique system and method that facilitates providing contextual advertisements based on one or more identified terms extracted from a non-text object such as an image, video, and/or audio object. Terms can also be identified and extracted from metadata associated with or other data derived from text objects such as email messages and attached text documents. One or more recognition techniques can be employed to identify data found in the non-text object (including the metadata or any other data derived therefrom) and data found in the metadata associated with the text object. Once the identified terms are analyzed, an appropriate contextual advertisement can be presented to the user. If the content of the non-text or text object is deemed of a negative nature, no contextual advertisement is provided.


Outland Research

Napster

System and method for searching peer-to-peer computer networks by selecting a computer based on at least a number of files shared by the computer
Invented by Wilburt Juan Labio, Giao Thanh Nguyen, Winston Wencheng Liu, Gurmeet Singh Manku
Assigned to Napster
United States Patent 7,089,301
Granted August 8, 2006
Filed on August 11, 2000

Abstract

A method and system for intelligently directing a search of a peer-to-peer network, in which a user performing a search is assisted in choosing a host which is likely to return fast, favorable results to the user. A host monitor monitors the peer-to-peer network and collects data on various characteristics of the hosts which make up the network. Thereafter, a host selector ranks the hosts using the data, and passes this information to the user. The user then selects one or more of the highly-ranked hosts as an entry point into the network. Additionally, a cache may collect a list of hosts based on the content on the hosts. In this way, a user may choose to connect to a host which is known to contain information relevant to the user's search. The host selector may be used to select from among the hosts listed in the cache.

My usual reminder about patents: Some of the processes and technology described in patents are created in house, and some are developed with the assistance of contractors and partners. A percentage are never developed in a tangible manner, but may serve as a way to attempt to exclude others from using the technology, or even to possibly mislead competitors into exploring an area that they might not have an interest in (sometimes skepticism is good.)

There are times when a Google or Yahoo acquires a company to gain access to the intellectual property of that company, or the intellectual prowess and expertise of that company's employees. And sometimes patents are just purchased.

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