Google Granted 5 Search-Related Patents, One Describes Tracking

Google inventors have received five search-related patents this week from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, ranging from the position of search query ranking, to tracking Web site clicks on a variety of devices.

The personalized search-related patent no. 8,825,639 describes a method for improving user search experience with a search engine by providing a way for people to create and share personal lists of articles through endorsements, which sounds somewhat like Google +1 combined with personalized search. Search endorsements are used to personalize the search engine's ranking of articles by offering a way for users to re-rank the article identifiers for themselves and for those who trust them.

The patent no. 8,825,637 for recording user actions describes a method for providing search results that identifies many Web sites relevant to a search query, generating an ordered set of search results, and sending the search results to a device. Each result includes a link to a respective Web site, a reference to a recording function that is distinct from a function of the link to send a request, and position information identifying the position in the ranking it should appear.

In some instances the search result tracks the clicks through the Web site. The data provides a universal resource location of the link that allows Google to monitor the clicks more efficiently. The patent refers to tracking as a "recording function" -- which, when executed at the client device, sends data, including the position information and Web site location information associated with the link in a search result of the ordered set of search results, to a server other than the Web site.

"When the user clicks down on a mouse button while their cursor is over the link, the function associated with the link is triggered resulting in a transfer of click recording data to a server that is used to record click information," per the patent. The click recording data may include the URL for a specific Web site, the location of the link in the order of the search results, the time of the click, the original search query or any other data relevant to the link or the user click. 

Other patent numbers granted Sept. 2 include automatic learning of logos for visual recognition, endorsing search results, and showing prominent users for information retrieval requests.

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