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Google Patent for User Targeted Search Results

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 8 years ago | from the in-the-crosshairs dept.

Google 168

lorenbake writes "Scoble is one of many to report that Google has filed a patent for user targeted, or attention targeted, search results which will change the ranking of Google's organic results per each individual user based upon that user's search behavior, location, sites visited, and even 'typing behavior'. How could Google build such user profiles to serve customized organic (non-paid) results to? Tracking via their network of desktop apps, advertising, Gmail, and other network services."

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168 comments

google? you mean the search engine that I (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13963827)

...boned?

Hey Scuttle(butt)Monkey! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13963908)

You're back again today.

Do No Evil (5, Funny)

Soporific (595477) | more than 8 years ago | (#13963833)

Do no evil. Unless you have shareholders?

~S

Thats stupid. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13963984)

How is it evil? It could be evil because its very powerful but in the right hands.. it could be good for everyone.

I think a lot of people trust google.. i do.

Re:Thats stupid. (0, Flamebait)

Halfbaked Plan (769830) | more than 8 years ago | (#13964031)

I think a lot of people trust google.. i do.

whooo! the value of google just went up a notch.

(the yacht can be a few feet longer, now...)

Grant your trust for the right reasons (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13964461)

These are actions Google has actually taken:

Helped Chinese authorities to censor their subjects' Internet access.
(http://www.cdrinfo.com/Sections/News/Details.aspx ?NewsId=14130 [cdrinfo.com] )

Selectively approved and refused ads, based on political content.
(http://www.unknownnews.net/google.html [unknownnews.net] )
(http://www.thenation.com/doc/20040830/reilly [thenation.com] )

Permanently collected search history for everyone who has ever used their site.
(http://www.google.com/intl/en/privacypolicy.html [google.com] )
(http://www.techweb.com/wire/ebiz/161500535 [techweb.com] )

Permanently collected/indexed the email history and content of all gmail users, for marketing and law-enforcement use.
(http://mail.google.com/mail/help/privacy.html [google.com] )

Filed obvious software patents.
(Refer to this slashdot story.)

For me, when people's actions directly contradict their words, I reduce my trust in them accordingly. Google can keep claiming to "do no evil," but the words are becoming more and more empty.

"How is it evil? It could be evil because its very powerful but in the right hands.. it could be good for everyone."

There's a simple way to tell if someone is likely to abuse power. When someone collects power over you, and states that it's for a purpose which doesn't require that power, you are being misled.

Re:Do No Evil (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13964223)

"How could Google build such user profiles to serve customized organic (non-paid) results to? " They already have the information. Google imbeds a cryptographically signed globally unique identifier on every computer that uses its search (it's set to expire in a few decades, so the only way to get rid of it is by deleting cookies. If you have the toolbar, you're probably out of luck). After recording what you search for with your unique ID, Google uses a number of methods to determine what link you clicked on, seemingly based on the age of your ID and your browser (the way Google gets my clicks for instance is with javascript that loads a spammer style "image" just as the new page is loaded. The image is nothing, but the "url" sent to Google for it contains all the information about who you are and where you are going). This is why so many of Google's services remain in infinite beta - the services aren't the main point, it's the personal information Google can gather about you that they want. Advertisers pay top dollar for targeted advertisements - a list of 1 million email addresses is worth about the same as 100 email addresses with a small number of statistics. Google offers companies the ability to spam people with an extremely large amount of personal information to go on.

Temptation risk VERY high (1)

davidwr (791652) | more than 8 years ago | (#13964232)

The more power you have the more temptation there is to abuse that power.

AFAIK, "Do No Evil" is an informal slogan around Google. Google would go a long way to alleviating concern if they added that to their corporate mission statement and bylaws.

The current leadership of Google may be committed to "doing no evil" but leadership changes and leaders can become corrupt [online-literature.com] .

Re:Temptation risk VERY high (3, Insightful)

General Alcazar (726259) | more than 8 years ago | (#13964407)

That is a nice sentiment, but if you are going to make such a bylaw, you would have to define "evil".

Unfortunately, in the real world, things are not so black and white.

Re:Temptation risk VERY high (3, Informative)

fyoder (857358) | more than 8 years ago | (#13964413)

AFAIK, "Do No Evil" is an informal slogan around Google. Google would go a long way to alleviating concern if they added that to their corporate mission statement and bylaws.

It is a part of the 'owner's manual' included with their SEC filing.

Co-founders release Google 'owner's manual' [com.com]

Perhaps not so much 'buyer beware' as 'buyer be advised'. Investors know up front what the company is about and Google is not obligated to aggressively pursue short term profits by whatever means for its share holders. It has explicitly told them it will not do that.

Evil isn't what I'm worried about (2, Insightful)

FatBear (835919) | more than 8 years ago | (#13964381)

I think Google has done a good job of making their search results more and more appropriate, and I really appreciate it, so I'm afraid they are going to make themselves less useful by trying to second-guess what I want. At least half of the searches I do on Google follow no pattern, probably more. Yet they will try to discern a pattern and skew the results appropriately. That will result in poorer search results. I'll have to start looking elsewhere.

It's been so long since I've used a rival search engine/site that I don't even know who the second best one is. I do remember that many of them also returned google search results along with their own. I don't imagine that Google will be able to profile other search sites the way it does individual users because so many users will create near randomness. So maybe those results will become better than results acquired directly from Google.

Google duo splash out for airliner (1)

linumax (910946) | more than 8 years ago | (#13964511)

Do no evil. Unless you have shareholders?

This is not funny, it's the ugly TRUTH!
This story ---> Google duo splash out for airliner [nzherald.co.nz] reminds me of a story I read in a magazine a couple of years ago. It was an inteview with larry or sergey or maybe both (don't remember now), btw, one of them said that everything is so simple @ google, to the extent that if someday somebody buys a BMW the he/she might lose his/her job! Looks like money has the power to change many things ... *sigh*

Re:Do No Evil (1)

GoodOmens (904827) | more than 8 years ago | (#13964606)

1998 When google was founded:

Henry Frankenstein: Look! It's moving. It's alive. It's alive... It's alive, it's moving, it's alive, it's alive, it's alive, it's alive, IT'S ALIVE!
Victor Moritz: Henry -- In the name of God!
Henry Frankenstein: Oh, in the name of God! Now I know what it feels like to be God!

Now:
Doctor Waldman: You have created a monster, and it will destroy you!

Big Brother is watching (3, Funny)

martinultima (832468) | more than 8 years ago | (#13963838)

2084. Google will rule the government. Wherever you look, everything you see will be tailored to what you want to see. Screw normal advertising, you'll be seeing "Google AdSense billboards" which display roadside alerts and stuff based on whatever you're thinking. Google is the new thought police...

Re:Big Brother is watching (1)

ILKO_deresolution (352578) | more than 8 years ago | (#13964104)

Well I think custom ads are comming anyway, and if
they are well calculated then good for me. especially if
google is the main information holder.
Hopefully it will not be microsoft.
Ever try to do linux related searches with msn...
I did along with some other stuff and I hate msn! (before the cover up)
It would be nice to hear why your scared of google.
Bottom line is that I don't want anyone extracting a signature
because we all definatly have one!
p34c3

Re:Big Brother is watching (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13964362)

People like you make me want MS to win just because you're such shameless google asssuckers. Man you are waiting with lips poised right at the opening of Brin's bung. it is sickening.

Re:Big Brother is watching (1)

Walterk (124748) | more than 8 years ago | (#13964311)

I doubt they'll be posting ads for adblock however.

Evil, Google. Google, Evil. (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13963844)

I'm sure you two will get along.

The main reason any big company patents anything is so they can violate the patents of other companies.

"What's that, Microsoft? We're violating your patent #314159265? Well you're violating our patent number #299792458. Lets call it even, shall we?"

MAKE MONEY OFF PATENT VIOLATIONS???!?!!!111 (1)

killa62 (828317) | more than 8 years ago | (#13964324)

Steps:
1. Make patent "Violation of other patents."
2. Bribe patent office to be accepted.
3. Google/Microsoft/etc/etc violates a patent.
4. Sue them.
5. ???
6. PROFIT!

Some offtopic notes (1)

game kid (805301) | more than 8 years ago | (#13964399)

If one doesn't know the respective significances of 314159265 and 299792458, said "one" is not meant for Slashdot.

Help me Slashdot!!! (4, Funny)

Psionicist (561330) | more than 8 years ago | (#13963846)

It's about (= 'Google 'good), but also about (= 'patents 'evil), what to do, what to THINK!!!

Solidarity is for Squids (2, Insightful)

Mateo_LeFou (859634) | more than 8 years ago | (#13963863)

It is about a stupid patent and is therefor evil. F google when they pull this crap.

Re:Help me Slashdot!!! (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13963920)

good + evil = Google?

Well no actually, but it's close. You get 'Goole' plus i, v and d left over.

Goole [google.com] is a whole different kettle of fish...

Re:Help me Slashdot!!! (2, Informative)

Parham (892904) | more than 8 years ago | (#13964027)

This feels like what Amazon has/had going with all the weird/obvious patents they were filing...

Re:Help me Slashdot!!! (2, Informative)

Halfbaked Plan (769830) | more than 8 years ago | (#13964044)

Yes. And I remember being on a mailing list in about 1997 where someone was talking about what a wonderful thing Amazon.com was . . .

Bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13964038)

Good people do bad things, but bad things don't do good people, so it's bad :)

Its not new, its not non-obvious and they're just using up their goodwill by filing for it.

The Google Future (1)

chengee (821396) | more than 8 years ago | (#13963847)

Exciting times we live in... Yahoo and MSN must prevail!

Re:The Google Future (1)

ILKO_deresolution (352578) | more than 8 years ago | (#13964069)

Your kidding right?
Comparitivly google seems better.
Most of all they're not nazi's about
what you search for...comparitivly.

geez (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13963852)

everyones jumping on the organic bandwagon... wonder when we'll see low carb google

Google for president... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13963856)

Not bad.. I could imagine that MSN would like that patent as well, and so would yahoo I suppose. Will probably bring in a lot of money for google.

Google is trying to take over the world :p Starting with the user.

Filing a patent is EVIL (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13963857)

Since filing a patent is evil, Google has violated its "do no evil" policy. Google does like most other companies do immoral things when it benefits the stock holders. Now that we know that, can we please not get a stupid Google story in Slashdot every day? It is tiresome and the company is just as evil as all other companies.

Re:Filing a patent is EVIL (2, Insightful)

crache (654516) | more than 8 years ago | (#13963903)

You must know that in reality you cannot sum things up as just plain "good" or "evil". We are getting the lesser of evils, would you rather msn had the patent? I think we are better off with google having it, after all someone would eventually.

Re:Filing a patent is EVIL (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13963934)

I dunno, people to seem to have no problem with simply summing up everything Microsoft does as "evil", as parent does here ("Would you rather MSN had the patent?").

Nonetheless, I personally don't use Google for anything except a search engine, and I guess I won't start now.

Re:Filing a patent is EVIL (1)

whayworth (928952) | more than 8 years ago | (#13963981)

Patents are, at their base, protection for ideas. How the organization/corporation that has the patent uses it is another thing.

Re:Filing a patent is EVIL (1)

soma_0806 (893202) | more than 8 years ago | (#13964097)

Wow, this logic has more holes than a pound of swiss cheese, where to begin...



First, you've somehow tricked yourself into believing we're in a two-party (two-evil?) system, M$ v. Google, not true. We have choices way beyond evil and lesser evil. I would rather no patent at all that was so vague or relating to a business practice/computer code at all, but I'll get to that in a sec. If someone must hold the patent, why couldn't we hope for someone in the open source community to grab it where it won't be secreted away or litigated to hell and back?



Which brings me to my second point, patents are no longer protection from the secret-keeping guild systems nor reasonable havens for inventors. They are weapons. If we're going to let this war go on, then the open source community needs to be just as snarky in grabbing up patents for everything under the sun, so they can fight back the big boys, or even better, release them to the public at large to take a little wind out of the money-chasers' sails.



Finally, even better, end the childish, counter-productive arms race all together, and take a page from the EU and no longer allow software nor business practice patents at all.

Re:Filing a patent is EVIL (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13963939)

"It is tiresome and the company is just as evil as all other companies."

Spent some time reading Mao's Little Red Book? What is the deal with this asinine belief that corporations, capitalism and money are somehow inherently "evil"? The threat here is personal privacy NOT a company trying to make money. Most companies are actually VERY GOOD for the average man and make our lives better. Keep the concern focused on privacy rather than jumping to socialism.

Re:Filing a patent is EVIL (3, Informative)

ergo98 (9391) | more than 8 years ago | (#13964049)

Since filing a patent is evil, Google has violated its "do no evil" policy.

Queue someone claiming that it's a defensive patent, and Google is just using the system to defend themselves. Of course that sort of claim is pure nonsense.

Anyways, it's hardly new - Google has been using the patent system since they first hit the scene with PageRank [uspto.gov] .

Re:Filing a patent is EVIL (1)

Eustace Tilley (23991) | more than 8 years ago | (#13964251)

Since filing a patent is evil

You are mistaken. Filing a patent is defensive. The five categories of behavior are:
  1. Mandatory
  2. Praiseworthy
  3. Neutral
  4. Discouraged
  5. Forbidden
Filing a patent is no worse than "Discouraged."

Just my 2 cents... (5, Insightful)

Froze (398171) | more than 8 years ago | (#13963861)

Before this goes all big brother...
I just want to say that I hove no problem with targeted advertising at all. If there is a way that does not impose on my personal freedoms to selectiviely show me things that I might be interested in purchasing it is not only ok but much preffered to the massive spamvertisement campaigns that go on now.

Re:Just my 2 cents... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13963877)

I think the bigger issue is not the targetting, but the patenting.

All I want.. (5, Insightful)

lightyear4 (852813) | more than 8 years ago | (#13963883)

All I want...is the ability to easily opt out.

Re:All I want.. (2)

crache (654516) | more than 8 years ago | (#13963918)

Very simple!

  Don't sign up for a google account, or simply do not sign in.

Re:All I want.. (1)

Jugalator (259273) | more than 8 years ago | (#13964030)

Sounds like a Google Personalized [google.com] on steroids to me.
And that one is at least optional so far.

Disposable personalities (3, Interesting)

zecg (521666) | more than 8 years ago | (#13963884)

Don't allow cookies accross sessions, dispose of your personalities and change your gmail accounts regularly, use only GPG 4096-byte encrypted text in your gmail account, put on your tinfoil hat when thinking anything at all and - you'll still be within the System, tracked and numbered.

Re:Disposable personalities (1)

jessecurry (820286) | more than 8 years ago | (#13964163)

just wait until google's system is so good at differentiating between various typing habits that none of those protections matter. Just think, capitalization, punctuation, character burst rate, vernacular, hours of use, and formatting of search strings will all work against you.

This is awesome! (4, Insightful)

LaughingCoder (914424) | more than 8 years ago | (#13963906)

Those guys at $oogle are making Microsoft look like amateurs when it comes to world domination!

Re:This is awesome! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13964107)

Considering the average person uses nothing from Google other than the search engine I somehow doubt that... Googles stock prices are way overpriced considering nothing they've done has really been a success other than their search engine and even that seems to be slipping lately. The quality of their search results is getting pretty bad in my opinion.

Re:This is awesome! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13964123)

Soogle?

M$ was silly enough, although useful to group close minded zealots together, as they always gave themselves away with it.

And $/S was kinda clever the first 1 minute you saw it.

But Soogle...?

Re:This is awesome! (1)

Pneuma ROCKS (906002) | more than 8 years ago | (#13964535)

And $/S was kinda clever the first 1 minute you saw it.

But Soogle...?

What about $G0000000000gle? That's a bit catchy.

All the world's information (5, Insightful)

Ifni (545998) | more than 8 years ago | (#13963909)

... includes yours.

Funny? (1)

enjahova (812395) | more than 8 years ago | (#13964640)

Funny? Insightful!

We want information at the tips of our fingers, and Google provides it.

This is like those questions where the answer isn't black and white. If I make a website with the (public) info of abortion doctors in my town. Then what if I put directions from the church to their houses using google maps? What if I mark all the pawn shops and gun shows on the way? When is it too much?

What if I put YOUR information on there? What if you put mine? I believe these questions have not hit the courts yet, and my professor asks them as open ended questions to the class.

Things are changing fast, what is privacy? How much do we want in our society? We want to fight terrorism and we want to hold the government accountable so it doesn't become a terrorist police state.

Wish I knew the answers :)

One of the quotes on my personalized Google home page is not really relevant but I thought it was interesting:

Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself. -Leo Tolstoy

Fine by me (4, Insightful)

Turn-X Alphonse (789240) | more than 8 years ago | (#13963911)

My Gmail account is my "send everything here" account. It gets spam from every where from tin foil hat sites to live journal. If you can find a way to work out what I like from "Person X has replied to your comment with 'lol, I agree' " then that's fine by me.

Re:Fine by me (1)

whovian (107062) | more than 8 years ago | (#13963969)

My Gmail account is my "send everything here" account. It gets spam from every where from tin foil hat sites to live journal.

That, and throwaway user accounts, is what I have used mailinator [mailinator.com] for.

disclosure: I have no affiliation whatsoever with mailinator.

Re:Fine by me (5, Funny)

aoe2bug (625814) | more than 8 years ago | (#13964052)

lol, i agree

Re:Fine by me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13964149)

I understand your point of view, but the emails contain more than just the message. They can most of the time determine the originating site by looking at the sender information, and start building your profile from the information stored on that site.

lol, I agree (1)

TyrelHaveman (159881) | more than 8 years ago | (#13964575)

Personally, I have no problem with my life being made easier by Google. They provide great services in all aspects, and listen to user input. If they get my input with no additional effort from me, that's even better. I'll volunteer any information they want, since I know it will be better for me and for them.

While I do not entirely agree with software patents, I do generally agree with Google--particularly in this case. This is the kind of thing they are really good at, and they deserve the right to the patent. It's not like the encourage all their employees to file for 5 patents per month or whatever Microsoft does.

Cradle-to-Grave Ad Tracking (5, Interesting)

K-Man (4117) | more than 8 years ago | (#13963923)

Let's face it, the only economic reason for a company to build and host a bunch of unrelated applications is to link together advertising and user profiles. Why else would a search engine be talking about providing free WiFi service? So they can track users' locations and deliver location-targeted ads.

Welcome to the future (4, Insightful)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 8 years ago | (#13963928)

Where computers and systems know what you want and then give it to you. Good? Evil? Well that all depends on intent doesn't it.

 

Re:Welcome to the future (1)

VJ42 (860241) | more than 8 years ago | (#13963977)

It's a cliche, but the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

Personally, I think the that Google's doing this is not an inherently bad thing, afterall if not them, it would have been Yahoo! or Microsoft.

Are patnets evil? (2, Insightful)

a_greer2005 (863926) | more than 8 years ago | (#13963929)

NO! the abuse of ptents is evil, and Google has yet to do this, they are just defending themselves in the arms race against ass-hats like Bezose and Gates, who patented the single and double clicks respectively, and other such loonicy. Google has yet to cross thhe line, untill they do, I will respect them -- HELL, if they havent abused teir power by now, why would they start?

Re:Are patnets evil? (1)

superpulpsicle (533373) | more than 8 years ago | (#13963996)

They haven't abused their power because they weren't public, and they had limited manpower before. Both have changed recently. They are now publicly traded with more at stake than ever. They are hiring thousands, and when the new workforce settle in 2006/2007. Google will be dangerous.

Re:Are patnets evil? (1)

Jugalator (259273) | more than 8 years ago | (#13964054)

Google will be dangerous.

However, if you wish, you can still search on e.g. Yahoo! or other services.
They're even catching up with Google's.

It's not like Google will be out there to get you, but I do believe their users should be aware they're using the data they collect about you.

On the other hand, who knows how many search engines hasn't...

Re:Are patnets evil? (2, Insightful)

duerra (684053) | more than 8 years ago | (#13964140)

NO! the abuse of ptents is evil, and Google has yet to do this, they are just defending themselves in the arms race against ass-hats like Bezose and Gates
And using this against them in the event of such an arms race would be abuse of the patents, and therefore evil.

Unless you are taking about a "defensive" patent, a patent to prevent somebody else from patenting something. But that's just lunacy, since you would already then have prior art.

And anyway, places like Amazon already do personalized results based on your purchase history. Wouldn't this be considered prior art? Clearly, personalized *anything* in an online world today should be considered obvious, and if it hasn't been done it's probably not because somebody hadn't thought of it, because it wasn't really technically efficient to do up until this point.

My vote on this patent? THUMBS DOWN!

Re:Are patnets evil? (1)

Temporal (96070) | more than 8 years ago | (#13964307)

Say Microsoft were to contact Google and say "You're infringing on 452 of our patents, and we want you to pay $X for them.". If Google had no patents, they'd be kind of screwed. But, if Google has tons of patents on random crap like advertising in RSS and personalized search results, they can say "Well, you're infringing on 521 of ours, so screw you.".

I think this is the point of "defensive patents". (Of course, I am not in charge of Google's patent policies, so I wouldn't know for sure.)

Re:Are patnets evil? (1)

tiredoftryingtofindo (924798) | more than 8 years ago | (#13964225)

I don't know about "patnets", but I consider software and business methods patents evil, as they've demonstrated time and time again that they cripple innovation and legitimate competition.

Re:Are patnets evil? (2, Insightful)

fyoder (857358) | more than 8 years ago | (#13964550)

HELL, if they havent abused teir power by now, why would they start?

Hopefully those with controlling interest currently will maintain it for a long time. Because when the good king dies, the heirs are typically less good. When the good king happens to be that rare creature the good vampire, and the heirs are all typical, blood thirsty vampires, then the chance of going evil is even greater. In the case of Google it's increasingly looking as though eventually the blood thirsty vampires will have vast quantities of personal information on hundreds of millions of people.

I think the guys in charge of Google now are ok, but how can they guarantee the 'do no evil' policy in perpetuity? Even those who think Google is currently trustworthy have cause for concern.

Re:Are patnets evil? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13964614)

Could you give me an example of where evil billy, amazon, etc uses their patents against other company's... ? Or can you predict the future... .

It's already being done (5, Informative)

Slashdoc Beta (925619) | more than 8 years ago | (#13963942)

On some seaches you perform you see a "personalized results (BETA)" message. I didn't really have a chance to determine whether the results are better, other than that it ranks the sites you visited before higher.

Re:It's already being done (1)

Rayaru (898516) | more than 8 years ago | (#13963967)

Yeah, I've noticed that too. For me, the results seem to be "better." It's probably just because I do a lot of repeat/similar searches. Anyway, it's nice not to have to sift through the same search twice because I forgot to bookmark something.

Filing patents to prevent patent misuse (2, Insightful)

ip_fired (730445) | more than 8 years ago | (#13963952)

Perhaps they are filing the patent to prevent other companies from filing a similar patent and then using it against Google? Google has already started down the road of targetted ads for their users and storing everything they can about the user's search habits.

For example, if you sign up for a personalized google page, they'll start tracking your searchs, and they will even let you go back and look at the searches that you made weeks ago.

I personally like this kind of stuff. It's useful to me if I forgot to bookmark a site that I liked, I can go back through my search history and find the site again.

Re:Filing patents to prevent patent misuse (1)

Halfbaked Plan (769830) | more than 8 years ago | (#13964085)

I guess as long as you're happy only being able to use such features with Google, it's all just hunky-dory.

Re:Filing patents to prevent patent misuse (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13964600)

Perhaps they are filing the patent to prevent other companies from filing a similar patent and then using it against Google?

35 U.S.C. sec 102 and sec 103 provide that ANY "printed publication" can serve as prior art that renders a proposed claim unpatentable due to a lack of novelty or a lack of non-obviousness. Therefore, you do not need to obtain a "defensive patent" to prevent a competitor from patenting that same subject matter. You merely need to publicly disclose that subject matter.

Even if you believe that this is not sufficient, you can prepare and file a patent application as a Statutory Invention Registration, which is published, indexed, and catalogued just like a patent, but which cannot be used offensively like a patent, and which notably does not require the additional attorney fees and government fees associated with patent prosecution, issuance, and maintenance.

Therefore, there is no rational reason not to publish your software idea, or to file an SIR disclosing your idea, unless you are after one thing: monopolizing a software method. I've already read comments from Google-apologists suggesting that Google would only assert such a patent against a competitor like Microsoft in response to being sued by a competitor like Microsoft for patent infringement, and all I can say is "Don't you believe it."

Has Google publicly announced that its intellectual property is merely a defensive patent portfolio? No? Then you would have to be a fool to infringe on this type of "defensive patent", yet the apologists act as if Google is not preventing other software programmers from writing useful applications that incorporate the subject matter in the application. ALL THIS WITHOUT EVEN CONSIDERING THE QUALITY OF THE SUPPOSEDLY PATENTABLE IDEA. This board is full of individuals that seemingly believe that every software patent ever issued is invalid because there is prior art, whether they've actually read and understood the patent claims or not, but since it's Google's application, it's all good.

What a load...

What were you expecting? (3, Informative)

whayworth (928952) | more than 8 years ago | (#13963957)

All the clues were there: context-sensitive ads in GMail was just an obvious one. If you sign up for an account with Google, you agree to their licensing terms; you do the same when instsalling an operating system from a corporation who shall not be named. If you don't like the idea that Google has access to your email, realize that any other provider has the same privileges; it's just that Google, intelligently (but not necessarily morally defensible), chose to take advantage of them. If you didn't use Google, it would be your ISP or another email provider (unless you have your own server).

TANSTAAFL.

Subject (1)

trollable (928694) | more than 8 years ago | (#13963979)

You still have software patents? How unlucky you are! BTW, nothing new. It has been done many times (and long time ago) but in general for a specific domain (music, ...). Google is just introducing targeted search to their own system, which is a bit more global. Now burn the USPTO.

Get ready to watch ... (4, Funny)

ngunton (460215) | more than 8 years ago | (#13963982)

... as all the Google fanboys do mental summersaults to twist reality to fit the conflicting notions that Google can do nothing wrong, and yet web patents are so very, very wrong...

I can see it now, future headline:

Google CEO Revealed as Beelzebub Prince of Darkness, Mountain View New 7th Circle of Hell

Slashdot comments:

"Well, you know, Satan *is* very misunderstood"

"Gmail still rocks! I don't care if the Google minions sacrifice a kitten every time I check my mail, as long as I have my 100 TB of storage! Whoohoo!"

"I just sold my eternal soul for more relevant search results - but hey, I got a great price on this DVD player! Thanks Asmodeus!"

"My monitor smokes a bit when I do searches now, but hey - I can find out what all my friends have been *really* thinking about me! Hey, this new GoogleBrainCrawler kicks butt! Go Google! But ... make the voices stop, please?"

"Yahoo! made a deal with the ancient Nordic Gods but they're just playing catch up at this point"

"Jeez guys, if it was Microsoft making a deal with Belial then we'd be all over it but just because it's Google, you're all ... erk ... ack ... (transmission terminated)"

Re:Get ready to watch ... (1)

miffo.swe (547642) | more than 8 years ago | (#13964283)

Im getting really pissed at this now. Google is not evil until they have proven themselves othervise. While Microsoft has been and continues to be drawn into court upon various charges about killing any and all competition. I havent seen that from Google yet. I feel this is but a PR war to make it look as if Google is a vivious predatory company just as Microsoft but its really a battle in vein. Until Google really does something stupid not many will believe the FUD hammered around. Its really strange that other companies isnt held up to the same saint status as google. Measure any other company like this with google and you will find google coming out ontop in most cases.

I dont mind a bit handing over my personal information to a company i can trust. Its a whole different matter to hand that information over to a predatory monopolist who stop at nothing to kill its competition and will gladly sell its soul to the devil for some money.

Re:Get ready to watch ... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13964425)

I dont mind a bit handing over my personal information to a company i can trust.

When it comes to personal information, I think people shouldn't trust any company...
Even if they are a sexy do-no-evil, do-no-wrong ex-startup bent on world domination for your own good.

Re:Get ready to watch ... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13964444)

This has nothing to do just a single issue (as you are trying to narrow it down to for some reason) such as being anti-competitive.

Giggle is helping the Chinese oppress its citizens.

Giggle execs are buying plush polluting 767's while at the same time stating they drive hybrid cars and care about the environment.

Now Giggle has IPO'd and is at the mercy of shareholders who can pull the strings.

I don't like the idea of a company to have access to so much information about individual poeple and is using it for their own personal profit motivated desires. Obviously, this is open to more abuse too. What is stopping their DBA from mining a database for some dirt on someone?

Re:Get ready to watch ... (1)

WilliamSChips (793741) | more than 8 years ago | (#13964534)

Giggle is helping the Chinese oppress its citizens.
1) Who's Giggle? I presume you're referring to Google. 2) Would you rather have the Chinese have to use a filtered Google or have them not be able to use Google at all? Because those are your choices.
Giggle execs are buying plush polluting 767's while at the same time stating they drive hybrid cars and care about the environment.
I don't know enough about this to comment.
Now Giggle has IPO'd and is at the mercy of shareholders who can pull the strings.
Hence the two classes of stock.

Re:Get ready to watch ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13964557)

Your sense of humour is broken, Giggle fanboi.

Giggle has a choice of being ethical and not helping out the Chinese.

Read the news. Even Giggle News carried the damn story.

Whether the stock is voting or not, Giggle is mandated by law to maximize profit. This means they are bound by law to do things that will require them to use IP in a way that many of us consider abhorrent, for example.

you are what you buy (2, Funny)

moviepig.com (745183) | more than 8 years ago | (#13964022)

...change the ranking of Google's organic results per each individual user...

Okay, here's a tinfoil-wrapped theory for your light enjoyment:

Psychologists have long claimed that advertising affects our psyches (e.g., cartoon shows' cereal and toy ads, the NFL's beer ads...). Google proposes to detect those changes in our psyches, and presumably to reinforce them. This could amount to a self-fulfilling and dangerous feedback-loop... resulting in mental image-burn, if not outright transformation. Before the body-snatching takes hold, I'm writing my congressperson...

it's all good (5, Insightful)

intmainvoid (109559) | more than 8 years ago | (#13964024)

Makes perfect sense for google to track which links i click on - essentially i'm filtering out the type results I don't want, so if the search algorithm can learn from that and produce more relevant results, then great!

Privacy isn't such an issue on this considering Google already has this information on a per user level - this probably doesn't raise any additional privacy concerns.

Re:it's all good (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13964424)

They track what links you're clicking on since quite some time. You won't usually notice it because they change the status bar text to the 'normal' link when you hover over one, but sometimes, all links from a result page will be bent to run over a logger script at google. It's visible (and very annoying) if you just right-click and copy the link, or your network connection goes down after you loaded the search page. Sometimes those bent links disappear after a reload, sometimes they don't. Does anyone around here know more about this?

OK... exactly how does one reconcile... (1)

kclittle (625128) | more than 8 years ago | (#13964033)

... a motto of "do no evil" with patent applications that use phrases such as "user targeted"? Obviously I am not a customer to be served, but a resource to be "targeted". What next, "identify and neutralize"? "Search and destroy"?
-k

They probably have to do this (5, Insightful)

max born (739948) | more than 8 years ago | (#13964057)

Google is not necessarily evil for doing taking out a patent. We live in a world of IP and patents. They probably have to do this for protection.

However, if Google starts using this patent to thwart their competition then they'll be making a mockery of their own do-no-evil slogan.

Weaving A Story (2, Funny)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | more than 8 years ago | (#13964067)

I'm sure I could write a witty comment about how the once noble Google has fallen from grace and sold its soul, rising like a rocket to the grat and smog filled heights of modern corperate decadence, but the storyline has probably been patented by now.

Defensive Maneuver? (1)

polv0 (596583) | more than 8 years ago | (#13964068)

What with gmail being copyrighted in the UK, perhaps this is designed to prevent others from frivously patenting google's technology and then suing them in an attempt to get paid off?

Bloody 'ell! (2, Informative)

DysenteryInTheRanks (902824) | more than 8 years ago | (#13964077)

Remember, in this wonderful technocapitalist system of ours, YOU HAVE A CHOICE!

If you don't want to support the 767-buying [independent.co.uk] , patent-filing search engine [google.com] , you could switch to ...

... the search engine [yahoo.com] that snitches on dissidents [iht.com] to the secret police of totalitarian China!

... the search engine run by a bullying monopoly that has run afoul [cfo.com] of anti-trust laws.

... the search engine [a9.com] of another company looking to exploit the patent system.

Suddenly I'm wishing at least one university had held on to its search engine (Stanford had Google and Berkeley Inktomi) before spinning it out to make bucks.

Sweet Revenge (2, Funny)

sco08y (615665) | more than 8 years ago | (#13964102)

We'll have sweet revenge when the goatse trolls run an innocuous search for their boss and get their "personalized results."

Wow, cool (1)

Lord Bitman (95493) | more than 8 years ago | (#13964103)

I was just thinking yesterday what a horrible idea that would be and how glad I am that google doesnt do this. I'm so cool.

Control of information is what this age is about (1)

ourcraft (874165) | more than 8 years ago | (#13964116)

The reason we have privacy is because it's none of your F$#@#@ business.

"This is all too hard, we can't argue with them can we?" "Well if we had system where people could choose their own government, and we weren't already run by an ever-more powerful group of companies, but that's impossible."

Just relax this won't hurt a bit.

See, just below your ass are your hind "legs" - now get up on them. I know it's scary, but this is called standing up. It is different from kneeling.

All your major news outlets are liars, your entire administration is a betrayal, your major corporations proudly have no morals or empathy (ie: they are sociopaths). Collecting information about you is to have power over you.

cough, sorry.

Do you think that the heads of any company uses a gmail account? Do you think you could scan and file any of the documents sent accross the internet of any 'important person'?

Are you important? ?

Do you have the phone numbers (etc) of the ten thousand most powerful people in your economy(nation) in a searchable database. Do they have yours?

If you aren't active enough in trying to change all this to have warrented a DHS background check then you aren't using your life very well.

This is not troll, nor is it flame bait.

The control of information is what you are doing right now sitting in the darkened cubby or basement of your lives. Control of information is what this age is about.

Google and Privacy (4, Insightful)

pdjohe (575876) | more than 8 years ago | (#13964162)

Google is getting worse and worse with privacy. From a geek point of view, they got a bunch of cool apps, but from a humanist point of view, I feel google is definately turning over to the dark side.

In a couple of years, we will probably be discussing Google and privacy concerns just like we discuss Microsoft and security concerns now.

You got the POWER!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13964327)

If you don't like it, then don't use it!
aka Stop using Google!!.

"No, really, they have to do this" (1)

uberchicken (121048) | more than 8 years ago | (#13964435)

This is actually very clever. It's just a ploy by Google themselves to shake out all the hypocrites and fanboys. It's like that stuff the FBI use to show up semen at a crime scene.

My slashdot policy book must be out of date. Didn't we all agree software patents were evil?

amazon doing that ? (2, Insightful)

dindi (78034) | more than 8 years ago | (#13964446)

it is kinda covered by a previous amazon patent, besides displaying an ad on a visitors behaviour exists for a long time:

e.g.
My visitor is looking at portable mp3 audio players for the last 5 visits, you want to display an ipod commercial instead of a hairdryer.

When that user searches for "moby audio tracks" you will present results ranked higher for places that sell mp3 other than LPs.

Respect to google, but I think it is also a common knowledge patent. I mean what I mentioned is an afternoon of SQL query tuning that I do not want to compare to millions of results organized by google, but at the end that patent seems to cover a bunch of similar practices that fall under the

"search result ordering based on user behaviour" ....

the typing issue is a good idea though .... e.g. you can distingush grandma typing 1 letter per 5 seconds, while mr 10-finger-typer geek can type 5+ letters in a sec :) hmm ... strange idea ....
I guess it also includes typo watch, misspell watch and similar ..... cool idea:) never thought of that ....

now google will start displaying ads about "quit drinking" or "hangover pills" when compared to my normal daily typing I start typing terribly on a late Saturday night ? ARE YOU DRUNK ? :)

now google just needs to start putting a HAL-like glowing red eye and microphones into our rooms, an anal implant and urine and stool analyzer to provide perfect results ....

off topic:

I mentioned it already , but interestingly the more and more google refines it's algo, the more and more I find myself using other search engines, as some of the things I am searching for provide less and less usable information for me...
for tech stuff google is unbeatable, however shopping/comparing and travel, I turn to yahoo more and more nowadays.....

Ahem.. (0, Offtopic)

Neoncow (802085) | more than 8 years ago | (#13964456)

..

..

DUN DUN DUNNNNN!

Personalized Search (1)

RockoW (883785) | more than 8 years ago | (#13964528)

I think this patent is for their on going Personalized Search Beta technology you can enable or disable it is YOUR choice.
Personalized Search Help [google.com]

So that's why... (4, Interesting)

mikael (484) | more than 8 years ago | (#13964560)

This has been driving me nuts for some time now.

Often, when trying to find some information at work, I'll try a Google search, and
make a note of the search terms in order to continue working at home. Then when I go
home and type in the same set of keywords, I'll get a completely different set of
search results, with the articles I was reading now missing.

a-ok (2, Interesting)

frankcow (925500) | more than 8 years ago | (#13964571)

I have absolutely no problem with this. I really don't care how detailed they want to get in their information gathering. After all, I'm one in a few billion people, what are the chances that any of my 'private' information would ever be surfaced in any way.

I don't see this as an invasion of privacy. I see it as a business filling the need of a customer, one who wants to find the exact information they're looking for, and instantly.

Teaching someone to search? (3, Interesting)

kinbote (100263) | more than 8 years ago | (#13964610)

This may be a disaster for Person X trying to communicate to Person Y how to search for a particular topic. The terms that yield good results for X may receive hidden help from X's personal context, which is totally murky and can't be readily communicated to Y, let alone typed in the search box...

As a simplified example, consider how the agriculture professor and a freshman student may end up with wildly divergent search results for "Onion"...

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