Google Patents Showing Link Info Before Click

    April 8, 2009
    Chris Crum

All the way back in 2003, Google filed a patent application for "Methods and systems for assisted network browsing. That patent has been granted this week. The patent abstract reads:

Systems and methods for assisted network browsing are described. In one described method, a client device receives an interest signal indicating a user’s interest in a hyperlink contained in a first document. The client device responds to the interest signal by generating a request signal comprising a request for third-party-provided information about a second document associated with the hyperlink. The client device receives the requested third-party-provided information and causes it to be output in association with the first document.

Think about all that Google has created and acquired in the years since December 31, 2003 when this patent was filed. It’s hard to say just what Google had in mind for this and if that is still relevant to the company’s plans years later. Could it have been just a way to look at info on search results before you went to them? Bill Slawski at SEO By the Sea ponders whether or not it is something that could be applied to the Chrome browser. Has some ideas of possible things that could be displayed:

– Ratings

– Annotations

– History of use

– Anchor text pointing to the page from other pages

– Summaries or other data associated with the destination page.

There’s no telling what Google’s plans are for this patent, or even if they still have any. You can read all the details of the patent here or a condensed version with commentary with Slawski’s article.