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Google Awarded Broad Patent For Location-Based Advertising

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the you-are-here-and-we-own-you dept.

Advertising 54

Mashable has a report of a patent that just issued (6-1/2 years after filing) — apparently Google now has a lock on location-based advertising. It's not clear that the search company intends to assert the patent against any other companies (such as emerging rival Apple), but it's useful as leverage. Here is the patent. Update: 03/02 14:34 GMT by S : Reader butlerm noted that the incorrect patent was linked. It now points to the correct URL.

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Let's hope they use it. (2, Interesting)

Akido37 (1473009) | more than 4 years ago | (#31326168)

I hope Google sues anyone who uses location-based advertising. That way, only Google will broadcast my location to advertisers. Avoid Google's product, and BAM! Privacy.

Seriously, though, Apple is already trying to stop app developers from using location information solely for advertising: http://developer.apple.com/iphone/news/archives/2010/february/#corelocation [apple.com]

Re:Let's hope they use it. (1)

Redlazer (786403) | more than 4 years ago | (#31326186)

Shit, he figured it out!

Somebody shut down /. before knowledge spreads!

Re:Let's hope they use it. (1)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 4 years ago | (#31326188)

With Google seeming to buy up any ad company that's a threat to it... it seems like they'll be most of the online ad market eventually, with Microsoft being in the unusual position of 2nd.

Re:Let's hope they use it. (1)

palegray.net (1195047) | more than 4 years ago | (#31326242)

Microsoft is already far behind Google in the ad market.

Re:Let's hope they use it. (1)

Epsillon (608775) | more than 4 years ago | (#31330106)

Even more awesomeness. A one-shot netblock rule to shut out all advertising and stop privacy leakage. What more could anyone want?

Re:Let's hope they use it. (2, Insightful)

ls671 (1122017) | more than 4 years ago | (#31326616)

WTF, there is something I still don't get about this. Many low budget sites are already using geoIP to target you better. Have you ever been to a site where there is an add to a dating site showing gorgeous girls that always happen to live in your area ? ;-)

I assume that with just a little bit more money, sites could cross-reference the geoIP data with a real advertiser databases and show real adds from merchants near you. Heck, I am sure a bunch of web advertising companies already use geoIP !

Can anybody enlighten me on how Google was able to obtain a patent regarding this idea ? Also is this patent only valid in the US ?

Re:Let's hope they use it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31326752)

Have you ever been to a site where there is an add to a dating site showing gorgeous girls that always happen to live in your area ? ;-)

Yes, and it always frightens me. It's like they're somehow stalking me. The same girls live in Auckland when I'm in NZ, and they live in Beijing or Shanghai when I'm in China. Funny though, there's never any Asian ones even when I live in China...

Re:Let's hope they use it. (1)

hvm2hvm (1208954) | more than 4 years ago | (#31327212)

It's not like the others won't do it or aren't doing it anyway without calling it location-based advertising. Or like if a company/government/anyone with incentive says it won't retain information about you, it really won't. You still need to not let anyone know your location if you really want your privacy.

Not *everyone* .... yet (1)

N Monkey (313423) | more than 4 years ago | (#31328004)

I hope Google sues anyone who uses location-based advertising. That way, only Google will broadcast my location to advertisers. Avoid Google's product, and BAM! Privacy.

Well, it appears that patent is still being examined in the European patent office (and it looks like it's already had a couple of rounds), so that approach ain't going to work, at least, in Europe.

Re:Let's hope they use it. (1)

Rolgar (556636) | more than 4 years ago | (#31329414)

Maybe instead of retinal scanning (ala Minority Report), advertisers will just have scanners positioned near their billboards that can detect people's cell phones, and computers will be able to triangulate the particular individual, then a camera placed near the billboard will be able to detect that certain individuals have looked in the direction of the billboard, and will calculate which ad matches most of the individuals looking at a certain moment. In the case of road side billboards, the bill board will just have to assume that individuals in a certain range are looking, and calculate based upon it's best information.

Apple must have known this was coming (1)

gcerullo (1573093) | more than 4 years ago | (#31326180)

This explains why Apple asked it's iPhone developers to stop using location based ads in their applications or at least be careful of how they use them.

Re:Apple must have known this was coming (3, Interesting)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 4 years ago | (#31326212)

Apple hasn't banned location ads, they've just required that in order to access the location, you must have a feature that uses it other than the ads.

I would like to submit prior art (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31326224)

billboards

Re:I would like to submit prior art (1)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 4 years ago | (#31326320)

June, 1990 - The movie Total Recall used location based advertising as well as targeted advertising by identification of the pedestrian.
1991-1992-ish - messaging system services providers attempted location aware advertising. Lead balloon effect due to the similarity to spam it represents.

Getting a patent on the obvious is ... well, it shouldn't happen, but it does.

Broad Patents (1)

Alapapa (723716) | more than 4 years ago | (#31326266)

Broad Patents suck.

That is all.

Re:Broad Patents (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31327614)

All patent$ $uck!!! Down with corperatian$$$$!!!!eleventyonehundredandeleven!!!!!

WTF? Prior Art! - IP Address-based geolocation (2, Interesting)

naz404 (1282810) | more than 4 years ago | (#31326332)

What gives? Google applied for the patent in 2004, but I've been seeing IP Address-based geolocation-targeted ads since way before 2004. You'd be served different different ads depending on where you lived based on your IP address.

How is this different?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geolocation_software [wikipedia.org]

Re:WTF? Prior Art! - IP Address-based geolocation (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31326526)

How is this different?

Why don't you READ the article and find out? Eh?

Fucking moron.

Re:WTF? Prior Art! - IP Address-based geolocation (1)

spydabyte (1032538) | more than 4 years ago | (#31326676)

Why don't you read the patent?

A system and method for comparing graphical content (e.g., images) of documents for approval, rating, and other uses are provided. Information may be stored about one or more graphical documents. Graphical content of a first graphical document being evaluated for distribution may be compared to at least one second graphical document. An approval determination may be made for the first graphical document based on the stored information about the at least one second graphical document and the comparison.

Where in this abstract does "location-based advertising" come into play? Seriously? Wrong patent?

And to grandparent: Just because it's been done doesn't mean you can't patent it.

Re:WTF? Prior Art! - IP Address-based geolocation (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31326740)

And to grandparent: Just because it's been done doesn't mean you can't patent it.

US patent law disagrees with you, however much of the world operates like that. The US is a 'first to invent' country where the right to patent is given to the first person to invent the item, not the first to submit a patent application.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_to_file_and_first_to_invent

Re:WTF? Prior Art! - IP Address-based geolocation (1)

Your.Master (1088569) | more than 4 years ago | (#31326968)

Patents are about how, not what. You can patent location based advertising if your method is different from other types of location based advertising, especially if it's much better.

GeoWorks did this in 2000 (1)

gti_guy (875684) | more than 4 years ago | (#31328668)

Geoworks demonstrated this on the San Francisco local news back in 2000.

Check out:
http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G1-66096362.html [encyclopedia.com]
http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G1-66915753.html [encyclopedia.com]
http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1G1-66096362.html [highbeam.com]

Re:WTF? Prior Art! - IP Address-based geolocation (1)

drew (2081) | more than 4 years ago | (#31330944)

I worked for a company in 1999 that was already doing this for a while, before there really was much in the way of publicly available GeoIP data. The database they started with was built in the mid 90's by wardialing the major ISP's access numbers in different area codes, so when they started out they were targeting purely by area code. By the time that I worked for them, they had refined it down to zip code.

Of course, that company was eventually bought by Double Click, which is now owned by Google, so if they were the first to use geographic targeting, then this patent may not be totally bogus. However, there is a pretty long window between 1997 and 2004 where other companies were doing the same thing. If I remember right, you only have about a one year window after an invention is publicly disclosed to file for the patent. Given that, the claims described in the patent don't seem sufficiently different from what my former employer was doing to qualify as a new invention.

Patent on IF statements? (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 4 years ago | (#31326354)

So if I write code that says "if point selected on map is between a latitude of 40 and 42 and a longitude of between 130 and 131* then pop up Bob's Restaurant ad", I owe royalties?

* I hope somebody with too much time on their hand doesn't tell me this is in the middle of a large ocean. Bob floats, okay? More specifically, Bob bobs.
   

Re:Patent on IF statements? (1)

lwgordon (1757336) | more than 4 years ago | (#31326716)

Well, not the middle of a large ocean, just east of North Korea in the Sea of Japan.

Regards,
Someone with too much time on their hands

Re:Patent on IF statements? (1)

BobisOnlyBob (1438553) | more than 4 years ago | (#31326928)

Isn't that roughly where North Korea keeps firing their Taepodong missiles?

Bob had better do more than just float and bob...

What about Nokia? (1)

PortaDiFerro (1719902) | more than 4 years ago | (#31326446)

I think Nokia is hit worst with this patent. I've seen them run tests on this kind of system on shopping malls, and releasing the navigation for free was probably part of the plan to start offering location based advertisement and other services on top of it. Google likely won't be very interested at licensing it either since advertising is their main business.

Been done 100 times and more (1)

somewhere in AU (628338) | more than 4 years ago | (#31326488)

Very obvious thought as well as implementation.

Been done time and time again over the years in just about every technical platform.

Go away Google, this is plain patent abuse by the rich.

Re:Been done 100 times and more (1)

ScrumHalf (911476) | more than 4 years ago | (#31326574)

They haven't abused it yet, they've only just received it. Perhaps they sought the patent to prevent other companies from obtaining it and pursuing frivolous lawsuits.

Re:Been done 100 times and more (2)

somewhere in AU (628338) | more than 4 years ago | (#31326630)

.."not yet" being operative word.

So I implemented first mobile POI & friend-to-friend app on WAP handsets in 2000.. and now in 2010 on re-entry to market with GPS enabled iPhone if I want to host ads on top based on location (duh, obvious) I am open to legal threat by Google for even touching this entire concept?

Regardless of intent/preventative aspects its still just a granted land-grab, here I claim all this land west of the river thing..

I can't count the number of times this whole "get ads while you walk down the streets" was pushed and done in various forms in 99/00 dotcom era and while I hated the idea done that way Google shouldn't now be granted in 2010 patent on "location based ads".. shut down the entire world and hand it to them on platter?

Legal wrangling & threats get won by those with biggest pockets.. simple.. de-facto monopoly granting right there in one.. thanks USPTO

Re:Been done 100 times and more (1)

jo42 (227475) | more than 4 years ago | (#31326604)

Frak me. We had this idea back in 2000 to do advertising directed by location of the customer. Back then the mobile technology didn't exist and would require people to enter in their address to be converted into longitude/latitude. Too bad we didn't document it and patent it back then. Frak me again.

time for a reset... (1, Interesting)

Eth1csGrad1ent (1175557) | more than 4 years ago | (#31326542)

It is time for a coordinated world-wide BOFH system shutdown in order to FORCE a review of IP laws and how they relate to technology.

How many billions (trillions?) of dollars have been wasted on lawyers and swapped between major industry players in the last 30 years over IP bitch-fighting !?

Not to mention that while the big guns are duking it out, the little guy (even the not-so-little guy) is absolutely screwed along with any form of innovation.

#$%^ all of these uber-corporations. Its seriously time to send a message to both governments around the world, and the people on the street, that the system is FUNDAMENTALLY BROKEN...

Shit like this shouldn't be patentable (1)

Spy Handler (822350) | more than 4 years ago | (#31326612)

_|_ google

Read it first (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31326652)

You guys may want to have a look at the patent text before making ignorant comments. Oh, sorry - guess I forgot this was /. Same goes to the author of the article. What do these guys do, spend their days looking for keywords in patent text that might rouse up some geeks?

USPTO /.ed? (1)

jrumney (197329) | more than 4 years ago | (#31326764)

Three attempts out of five to view the mentioned patent, I ended up at "Method and system for approving documents based on image similarity", and the other two I ended up at other Google patents that have nothing to do with TFA. Perhaps it would be more reliable in the face of a slashdotting to Google Google's patents on Google Patents [google.com] .

But (1)

rpresser (610529) | more than 4 years ago | (#31326916)

Isn't a billboard an example of "location-based advertising"?

Re:But (1)

kmoser (1469707) | more than 4 years ago | (#31340526)

My thoughts exactly. Every time I pass a certain billboard, it seems to "know" I'm there and always shows me the same message. And it's not even one of those newfangled computer screen billboards.

Google needs a war chest. (2, Interesting)

miffo.swe (547642) | more than 4 years ago | (#31326946)

The problem with the current patent system is that Google needs a war chest full of patents to survive. When Microsoft goes on a rampage like they do now, demanding anyone using linux to pay Microsoft its essential.

Having a patents like this makes Google less of a target.

The system is utterly broken but i dont blame the companies playing the game, i blame the stupid politicians who allow this.

Wrong patent (2, Informative)

butlerm (3112) | more than 4 years ago | (#31327120)

The link both in the original post and in the cited article (to say nothing of dozens of other articles) cites the wrong patent.

The correct one is patent application 20050050027 [arnoldit.com] , but the patent number seems to be harder to track down. In fact I am not sure it has been granted at all.

The incorrectly linked patent [uspto.gov] is about remote ad selection for broadcast radio stations, which is not particularly relevant here.

Re:Wrong patent (4, Informative)

butlerm (3112) | more than 4 years ago | (#31327194)

After a little more checking: The correct patent is patent 7,668,832 granted Feb 23, 2010 as listed here [uspto.gov]

Note to web log authors: You can't use just any old URL. Some URLs have content that changes over time. The PTO web site may return a different patent every day if you don't actually query (and thus generate a URL based on) patent number.

Re:Wrong patent (1)

mxh83 (1607017) | more than 4 years ago | (#31327536)

I can't click the link

I was helping do location based ads back in 2001 (1)

russ.anderson (1516165) | more than 4 years ago | (#31328150)

Unfortunately the site's only now to be found on archive.org, but tradepiper.co.uk was all about giving location-specific adverts from both local and national businesses, and this was back in 2001 kinda time. Looks like what the patent talks about matches pretty closely to most of the stuff we were doing back then.

Location Based Ads, Isnt that called Billboards? (1)

TrenchWarrior (219169) | more than 4 years ago | (#31328362)

The correct patent is patent 7,668,832 granted Feb 23, 2010 as listed http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO2&Sect2=HITOFF&p=1&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsearch-adv.htm&r=1&f=G&l=50&d=PTXT&S1=7668832.PN.&OS=pn/7668832&RS=PN/7668832 [uspto.gov] Thanks ButlerM

Location based advertising - Isnt that called billboards?

Or store signs or product displays?

To say you want to claim the right that at X and Y coordinates you control the method of putting up product advertising with *gasp* price information is all silly - they are called signs. Stores use them all the time.

And yes IP specific advertisement has been around before the 2003-2004 patent. Now the IPs move and become mobile shouldnt
make a difference.

No... (1)

Theaetetus (590071) | more than 4 years ago | (#31330036)

Location based advertising - Isnt that called billboards?

Or store signs or product displays?

To say you want to claim the right that at X and Y coordinates you control the method of putting up product advertising with *gasp* price information is all silly - they are called signs. Stores use them all the time.

You linked to the correct patent, but apparently completely failed to read it. The patent is what's in the claims, not the title, abstract, or the title of this Slashdot article.

obvious and thought of 15 yrs ago by me. (1)

emptybody (12341) | more than 4 years ago | (#31328678)

idea was that a device could be carried over which a third party could submit information that upon you reaching or researching locations would become aware of that information. essentially a digital billboard. near a movie theater? here: watch previews of the shows and times. near the packie? here: our sale on cognac. near the bridge? here: the number of the Samaritans.

what i did not know was that i only needed to write up the idea and patent it with Out a working physical prototype.

for me, this idea is obvious and a natural evolution of technology and use thereof.

Re:obvious and thought of 15 yrs ago by me. (1)

Theaetetus (590071) | more than 4 years ago | (#31330058)

idea was that a device could be carried over which a third party could submit information that upon you reaching or researching locations would become aware of that information. essentially a digital billboard. near a movie theater? here: watch previews of the shows and times. near the packie? here: our sale on cognac. near the bridge? here: the number of the Samaritans.

what i did not know was that i only needed to write up the idea and patent it with Out a working physical prototype.

Yeah, that's it... And I just thought of a time travel device. All I need to do is write it up without needing a physical prototype.

I think it's probably a little closer to say that you had a vague idea, but still had the actual inventing to do.

Re:obvious and thought of 15 yrs ago by me. (1)

emptybody (12341) | more than 4 years ago | (#31338852)

meh.

Space For Sale (1)

tpstigers (1075021) | more than 4 years ago | (#31328692)

I don't actually have anything to say. I'm just claiming this space so I can later sell it to Google for ads.

2001 article on location based advertising (1)

WampagingWabbits (627551) | more than 4 years ago | (#31329550)

Here are papers published in 2001 and 2003 describing location advertising in the open source mobilemaps search engine:

http://www.directionsmag.com/article.php?article_id=281 [directionsmag.com]
http://www.directionsmag.com/article.php?article_id=369 [directionsmag.com]

This still has a ghost site up on the net. One of the original authors is contactable at abrahaph at yahoo's .co.uk website.

So? (1)

Theaetetus (590071) | more than 4 years ago | (#31330020)

The patent isn't "location-based advertising". It's not even "Determining and/or using location information in an ad system", which is at least the title of the patent. The patented invention is solely bounded by the claims, and I don't see anything your linked articles regarding determining geolocation price information of an ad.

Re:So? (1)

WampagingWabbits (627551) | more than 4 years ago | (#31358518)

Are you trying to tell me that a patent titled "Determining and/or using location information in an ad system" is unrelated to it's title? No wonder software patents have a bad name...

Geolocation price information appears to be only a small component of the claims, and is IMO an obvious extension on the idea of location based keyword advertising, particularly as price auctions were already used at the time for regular keyword ads.

So obvious, in fact that IIRC, it's in the source code of the advertising engine mentioned in the papers.

Re:So? (1)

Theaetetus (590071) | more than 4 years ago | (#31359010)

Are you trying to tell me that a patent titled "Determining and/or using location information in an ad system" is unrelated to it's title? No wonder software patents have a bad name...

Yeah, just like "Assassins Creed" is related to the story, but not the rendering technology. The title is really just to at-a-glance distinguish one patent application from another. But you can have two perfectly acceptable titles for things that have nothing to do with each other... For instance, you could have a wooden decoy for hunting with a novel "dove-tail", and you could have a joint for cabinetry called a "dove-tail". You could have a rotary piston system called a "planetary engine", or you could have an ion engine for interplanetary travel called a "planetary engine". Heck, in software, you've got buffers - but you've also got them in floor cleaning. That's why the title has no weight.

Geolocation price information appears to be only a small component of the claims, and is IMO an obvious extension on the idea of location based keyword advertising, particularly as price auctions were already used at the time for regular keyword ads.

No, it's pretty major in those claims. The two papers you cited don't talk about location-dependent pricing. Instead, they're just about location-dependent searching. The "find local" on Google maps, for example.

There may be prior art, if anyone kept it (1)

Cajun Hell (725246) | more than 4 years ago | (#31331242)

Patent was filed in 2003. But in 2002 (I think it was June but maybe if I check some old records I can narrow this down) I was watching TV and noticed an advertisement for a local business. I didn't think much about it at the time, but a few months later I travelled to another state, and exhausted after the drive, I watched some TV inside my far-from-home hotel room. I didn't see any advertisements for my home town businesses! I'll have to check my old VHS tapes to confirm this.

In fact, I think I saw an issue of the local newspaper in 2001, where the classified ads section happened to advertise several apartments for rent in my town, and no apartments from apartment advertisers on the other side of the continent. I wonder if I can still find that paper.

No wait.. in 1999 there was a rock band who had hired a national ad agency to place concert ads in the cities through which they were touring, only targeting the local media but not paying extra to show the ads to the whole national audience. Shit, what was the name of that flash-in-the-pan rock band? Does anyone remember?

Now that I think of it, in 1998 David Attenborough documented a male bird in Indonesia, where it was showing off its colors and song only to females within a few miles of itself. Birds in Louisiana were totally ignored for its advertising purposes, as the resource cost of transmitting ad to them, was judged by its marketing department as being not worth the expense. (Not to mention that the Louisiana birds may have been genetically incompatible.) Attenborough did a good job of explaining how that bird really wanted to fuck the local females. Maybe I can find a torrent of this show, because it sounds like birds have been doing this at least 5 years before Google.

Maybe I'm mis-remembering this stuff, but I think industries may have been using location based advertising prior to 2003. Finding the proof won't be easy, though.

good info (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31356916)

it's good information for me http://x-blogcontest.blogspot.com/2010/02/jadwal-pertandingan-piala-dunia-2010.html

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