Once again, IPWatchdog’s Companies We Follow is returning to Mountain View, CA, to focus on Google Inc., one of the premier names in online technologies throughout the world. In mid-November, the corporation received a major legal victory when the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals decided that the company’s Google Books service is protected under the “fair use” principle of copyright law. Google’s Android system is still very strong in the mobile device market, which the corporation is hoping to improve with the recent launch of its low-cost Moto G smartphone.
Google is a major player in the American patent system, and the U.S. Patent and Trademark System regularly churns out bunches of issued patents and patent application publishings which are assigned to the company. This week, we’re profiling a number of interesting technologies for mobile devices and online software applications that this multinational corporation is either seeking to protect or for which they’ve earned the rights already.
Today’s column starts with a thorough profile of one patent application that seeks to converge content from social networks with the news feed that a person sees when browsing a news aggregator service. Google wants to patent a system that analyzes a user’s social media feeds to pull up relevant media or comments that may enhance the value of browsing through news stories. Other patent applications protect better routing systems, both for public transportation as well as personal vehicles, and one discusses an interesting system of providing instant text translations between two foreign parties on one tablet computer.
In the section regarding the patents issued recently to Google, we’ve found a few interesting improvements to online digital technologies, especially those meant to help digital rights owners and legal teams. One patent protects a system of identifying a copyrighted composition by analyzing the melody of a live recording, while another provides a more cost-effective process of electronic discovery of legal documents. More routing services are protected by other Google patents that we discuss here, showing Google is actively seeking to expand its holdings in online mapping applications.
Socially Relevant Content in a News Domain
U.S. Patent Application No. 20130298000
Social media websites give users the opportunity to share content with others, including links to news stories or digital videos. Other members of that user’s social network then have the opportunity to further share or comment on those content items. This open social forum often creates an interesting conversation that comments on some aspect of the news or media content that was shared.
News and media websites have been focused on aggregation of sources in recent years. Many people looking for news stories online typically start their search by browsing through news aggregators that provide links to reports from individual news outlets. In many cases, there may be some content of interest pertaining to the news story that has been shared within a reader’s social network.
This patent application, filed by Google with the USPTO, would protect a system of including relevant content within a social network as part of the links available on the news aggregator webpage. This involves searching comments and posts for keywords related to a story, as well as filtering the social content items by date and reputation of the source. Any content that fits these parameters is then displayed on a social platform available through the aggregator website.
This system could be used to retrieve social content relevant to a particular news story or for entire content genres on a news aggregator site, like sports, regional news, weather and more. By adding this additional context to these news websites, Google is hoping to enhance the experience of online news readers who may benefit from a better insight into the story itself or the opinions of their social network connections.
Claim 1 of this Google patent application would protect:
“A computer-implemented method comprising: receiving a request from a user for a news aggregator page related to a news story; retrieving social contents items related to the news story; and providing the news aggregator page for display, wherein the news aggregator page comprises a plurality of links to news content items related to the news story, and the retrieved social content items related to the news story.”
Other Patent Applications
As a major developer of Internet technologies, Google is heavily involved in creating products that provide a greater level of service for its suite of online applications. We’ve pulled a few other interesting patent applications for our IPWatchdog readers today, and we’re seeing a couple that pertain to Google’s mapping services. A more complete mapping system is the aim of U.S. Patent Application No. 20130290400, entitled Constructing an Integrated Road Network. This system has a much more streamlined process for compiling mapping information from different sources, such as state-controlled highways and local roads. U.S. Patent Application No. 20130304378, which is titled Public Transportation Journey Planning, would protect a system that provides more effective user routing and scheduling systems based on transit data for public transportation.
Improvements to communicative technologies is another focus area recently for Google. Communication between foreign language speakers can be aided by a computer terminal running the system described in U.S. Patent Application No. 20130297287, filed under the title Display Two Keyboards on One Tablet Computer to Allow Two Users to Chat in Different Languages. This patent would protect a communication module that includes keyboards, touchpads or some other form of text input on a touchscreen for two languages, as well as text translation. Automated voice response units (VRUs) in a call center environment may become less cumbersome for human callers because of U.S. Patent Application No. 20130294590, titled Voice Response Apparatus and Method of Providing Automated Voice Responses with Silent Prompting. This system is designed to help human callers find alternate processing if they’re interacting with an automated response menu that doesn’t seem to include the correct option.
Issued Patents of Note
Every week, Google receives a fair number of patents issued by the USPTO to protect its various computer technology innovations. A major focus of the Companies We Follow series is the patent portfolio amassed by any corporation, and we’re noticing a number of issued patents that expand on Google’s holdings in routing services as well as a few legal and security technologies.
A system for rights management of composition recordings is the focus of U.S. Patent No. 8584197, titled Media Rights Management Using Melody Identification. This patent protects Google’s system of analyzing online multimedia streams to identify known compositions in recordings. This will enable copyright holders for that piece of music to better collect royalties without having to manually identify live recordings. More effective electronic discovery of legal documents is discussed in U.S. Patent No. 8583669, issued under the title Query Suggestion for Efficient E-Discovery. This system helps reduce the costs associated with searching large databases of legal documents during the discovery process of litigation. We’re also intrigued by U.S. Patent No. 8583787, entitled Zero-Minute Virus and Spam Detection, which protects a system designed to provide real-time detection and removal of viruses by an e-mail management system.
Expanding on the mapping and routing technologies described above are two issued patents that we’re also profiling today. U.S. Patent No. 8583374, titled Systems and Methods for Route Summarization, is designed to provide route summaries on a planned route that are easier for a human driver to follow than current step-by-step driving directions.
Finally, we explored U.S. Patent No. 8583400, issued under the title Indoor Mobilization of Mobile Devices. This patent protects an indoor localization system that can find the position of mobile devices when GPS signals fail within buildings. We recently profiled a similar technology in a column on Texas Instruments that relies on wireless local access network (WLAN) access point analysis of mobile device movement. This Google system accomplishes a similar goal by analyzing movement data from a device’s gyroscope.