Patent applications from Yahoo and MSN dealing with user annotations, trust networks, and domain specific database creation and searching were published today by the USPTO. Two of Yahoo's applications fit very nicely with their FUSE (Find, Use, Share, Expand) and MyWeb visions. Links and abstracts follow.
+ Title: Search systems and methods with integration of aggregate user annotations
Computer systems and methods allow users to annotate content items found in a corpus such as the World Wide Web. Annotations, which can include any descriptive and/or evaluative metadata related to a document, are collected from a user and stored in association with that user. Users are able to annotate and view their annotations for any document they encounter while interacting with the corpus, including hits returned in a search of the corpus. Users are also able to search their annotations or to limit searches to documents they have annotated. Metadata from annotations can also be aggregated across users and aggregated metadata applied in generating search results.
Computer systems and methods incorporate user annotations (metadata) regarding various pages or sites, including annotations by a querying user and by members of a trust network defined for the querying user into search and browsing of a corpus such as the World Wide Web. A trust network is defined for each user, and annotations by any member of a first user's trust network are made visible to the first user during search and/or browsing of the corpus. Users can also limit searches to content annotated by members of their trust networks or by members of a community selected by the user.
+ Title: System and method for providing automobile marketing research information
A system and method for providing customized reports regarding pre-sale auto interest is enclosed herein. The reports are configured to provide pre-sale marketing research information about potential shoppers of particular auto models. The reports are also configured to provide information about competitors' auto models. The reports are also configured to provide demographic and interest information of the potential shoppers of the particular auto models.
+ Title: Method and system for indexing and searching databases
A search system generates an index for databases by generatively sampling the databases and uses that index to identify and formulate queries for searching the databases. The generated index is referred to as a domain-attribute index and contains a domain-level index and site-level indexes. A site-level index for a database maps site attributes to distinct attribute values within the database. The domain-level index for a domain maps attribute values to database and site attribute pairs that contain those attribute values. To generate a site-level index for a database within a certain domain, the search system starts out with an initial set of the sample data for that domain. The search system generates sampling queries based on the sample data and submits the sampling queries to a database. The search system updates the site-level index based on the sampling results and uses the results to generate more sampling queries.