The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office officially granted Apple a patent on December 22 that shows how the company is strengthening its search technology.
In October, the Financial Times reported Apple is stepping up efforts to create its own search technology if required to break ties with Google based on U.S. antitrust suits.
The patent, domain-based influencer scoring, describes methods and systems for creating “domain influence scores” that Apple can use to “rank or sort search results.
A domain influence score that sorts and ranks results aims to make search results more useful to users. The system begins by preselecting a subset of domains and assigning an influence score to only the domains in the group while all other domains have an initial influence score of zero. Links to the pages are then counted to update the influence scores of each domain. One or more blacklists, now called "blocklists" in the advertising industry based on racial injustice and movements that occured this year, can be used to modify the influence scores.
Initially identified by Patently Apple, the patent explains how the technology will return results based on analysis of the links to website domains, and how each link contributes to the dominance of another domain, similar to Google Search.
Updating the “influence scores produces a data set in which all domains have a positive (non-zero) influence score, with some domains having significantly higher influence scores than other domains," according to the patent.
It also can generate a domain blocklist used during the process of updating the influence scores.
The process of updating influence scores can include techniques that take into account links to or from a blocklisted domain to calculate influence scores for other domains that are not blocklisted.