Search Patents Show Promise

    May 26, 2006

A roundup of the latest search patents shows some interesting developments. As gathered and noted by SearchEngineWatch, Yahoo, Microsoft, IBM, and Amazon all have new tweaks and developments in play, with Yahoo actually receiving two patents and Microsoft being granted three.

Yahoo’s first patent relates to technology that will break search queries down into conceptual units. Some aspects of these divisions will be based on “real world knowledge,” while others will not.

The other patent granted to Yahoo involves exchanges of scripts between computers. As described in the filing, a computer could “communicate and exchange data with a script on a second computer . . . . The method and system enable a first computer to control the Internet navigation of a second computer.”

The first of Microsoft’s three patents covers “utilizing information redundancy to improve text searches,” or in other words, recognizing and distinguishing between similar documents. It should do the same for off-topic information.

The second patent granted to Microsoft is, simply put, a “scalable computer system for managing annotations.” The third patent is described as a “system and method of inserting advertisements into an information retrieval system display.” The premise is that you will be shown different commercials depending on what type of television programming you watch.

IBM patented “smart bookmarks,” which “can include both a network address pointing to the network location of content specifying a form; and, one or more field references, each field reference corresponding to fields specified in the form. The smart bookmark . . . also can include at least one field attribute corresponding to at least one of the field references.”

Amazon’s patent shows the online retailer tinkering with search terms if they would otherwise gather no results. It would show results from similar searches, based on the prediction that the user could be misspelling or misremembering the query.

As noted by SearchEngineWatch, not all of them will necessarily be put into use. But these patents represent some noteworthy advancements in the search engine industry.

Add to | DiggThis | Yahoo! My Web


Doug is a staff writer for WebProNews. Visit WebProNews for the latest eBusiness news.