Sunday, 10 December 2006

Interesting SEM-Related Patents in 2006

As mentioned in my cyberlaw blog, the recent Search Engine Land post regarding 3 new patents that were just issued to Google, Yahoo and IBM, respectively got me researching what other interesting search engine-related patents have been issued in 2006. Well, it is nearly 2007, so what better time to take a look back over this year and the technologies that drive this industry.

If you are of a technological bent, these should be of particular interest to you and make for some fascinating reading if you really want to know what goes on behind the scenes of our favorite search engines and where they're heading! (Note: The three patents below are all assigned to Google, Inc.).

U.S. Patent # 7,136,875 - Serving Advertisements Based on Content

This patent is definitely the one of most interest to Internet marketers.

"The present invention allows advertisers to put targeted ads on any page on the web (or some other document of any media type). The present invention may do so by (i) obtaining content that includes available spots for ads, (ii) determining ads relevant to content, and/or (iii) combining content with ads determined to be relevant to the content."

Although it's also pertinent to search engine advertising, the patent seems to be primarily describing the functionality of AdSense/content network advertising.

U.S. Patent # 7,096,214 - System and method for supporting editorial opinion in the ranking of search results

At first sight, this patent seems to be concerned with simply integrating some kind of human ranking element into Google's search ranking algorithm. However, as you read, it seems to be more related to pulling search results, at least in part, from a web directory that has been created as a result of editorial review, such as

The patent itself describes it as "[a] system and method, consistent with the present invention [provides] a mechanism that enhances the ranking of search results by integrating editorial opinion."

U.S. Patent # 7,027,987 - Voice interface for a search engine

"[T]he present invention provid[es] a voice interface for search engines that is capable of returning highly relevant results."

This patent, as is pretty obvious, is concerned with producing a search query via speech recognition and then producing the search results from that query. This sounds like a patent concerned with accessibility issues but I wonder what other uses a voice-triggered search engine could be put to!

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