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July 12, 2006

New Google Patents On Ads And Local Search

Search Engine Watch found 12 Google patent applications published last week, mostly related to advertising, local search and automatic information extraction. Here are some of the most interesting patents:

Associating features with web pages automatically is a way to target ads to a specified page based on the most relevant keywords / concepts on a page. If a page is categorized into the science domain and very few people click on the page when it appears in search results for queries related to science, or spend only a couple of seconds on that page, it means the topic wasn't wisely chosen.

"The present invention permits features, such as keywords or topics, to be associated with entities, such as Web pages or categories. [..] Such associations may be used for a variety or reasons, such as, for example, targeting ads, suggesting targeting features for an advertisement for presentation to advertisers, automatically generating targeting criteria for an advertisement, etc.

The feature score may be a function of a user action with respect to the document. For example, if the user selected the document when it was rendered on a search results page to a query, features from the query would be scored higher than if the document were not selected. As another example, if the user competed a transaction at a document when it was rendered on a search results page to a query, features from the query would be scored higher than if the no conversion took place on the document."

Personalized transportation route - a system that uses a GPS device to locate your car and transportation flow data to deliver information about the best route you should follow to go to a certain address.

"The method comprises gathering a plurality of past location indicators over time for a wireless client device, determining a future travel objective using the plurality of previously-gathered location indicators, obtaining transportation flow data for an area proximate to the determined driving objective, and generating a suggested route for the travel objective using the transportation flow data. Information for the suggested route may also be transmitted to the wireless device, and may be transmitted at a predetermined time of day."

Determining local relevance of a document when there's no information about addresses or other local references is a difficult task. The patent describes some signals used to replace this information, like anchor texts in pages that link to the site, partial addresses or the frequency of occurrence of words for an area. Another important task is to determine the authoritativeness of a document for a specified location. "For example, a document corresponding to the home page of a restaurant at the location may be considered more authoritative for the location than a document corresponding to a review of the restaurant."

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