Google, Inc., of Mountain View, CA, develops Internet-based products, like its renowned Google Internet search engine and Gmail, an e-mail application, among many others. Google.com is one of the world’s most widely accessed websites every day. Recent corporate moves, including the announcement of Google’s partnership with NASA for the development of quantum computing, have widened the scope of the company’s future.
This week at IPWatchdog, we want to take a look at the Internet and computer technology developer’s recent published documents released by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. As the developer of the Android mobile device software, Google is heavily involved with mobile device and digital media systems development. Two recent patent applications filed by Google would protect different innovations for Internet audio systems, including a user-responsive start page for a music library and a system of allowing multiple users to rate tracks on a playlist to adjust playback.
Google is also focused on improving online search methods, as is evidenced by another patent application for a system of searching social media pages for individuals or groups. And another final patent application would protect a more secure system of offering digital media excerpts to potential customers which would prevent stealing.
A patent recently awarded by the USPTO to Google that caught our eye also protects another new search system that would provide for logo recognition.
Start Page for a User’s Personal Music Collection
U.S. Patent Application No. 20130124584
Cloud-based storage of digital media files has been developed in recent years for device users who have large collections of music. Storing those files on a cloud server allows a user to access that music through a device without wasting drive space on the device itself. This is very helpful to those who own more than one device, so that music doesn’t have to be copied to multiple device storage systems.
This Google patent application seeks to protect the home page design for an application that provides a user interface for accessing cloud-based media storage. The software involved with the music library home page would analyze user interactions with the collection to provide a more user-responsive experience, like presenting information gathered about an artist or band that the user listen to regularly.
As Claim 1 of this patent application explains, Google would like to protect:
“A method for providing an interface page for a music library, comprising: retrieving metadata associated with audio files contained in a music library of a user; parsing user-defined interactions with the audio files from the metadata; analyzing the user-defined interactions to determine an artist of interest to the user; retrieving information related to the artist of interest from an information source; presenting the information related to the artist of interest on an interface page for accessing the music library.”
Triggering Social Pages
U.S. Patent Application No. 20130117301
Internet search engines are designed to retrieve information quickly based on the search terms provided by a user. Users can set certain search parameters to adjust their search engine results. For example, the Google search engine allows a user to perform a search for images, video, news articles and more. Tokens entered into the search query field can further impact results; searching any keyword with the token “site:*.com” will search for that keyword within that specific website domain, for example.
Google wants to protect a system of entering a token into a search query that would bring up social media page results along with other search items. In the patent application document linked here, the detailed description states that a user could add the “+” symbol before a search term to find social page results. Links in the results page would take users directly to the social page for that company or individual.
Claim 1 of this Google patent application describes:
“A method comprising: receiving a search input including one or more search terms; determining whether the search input includes a particular token; in response to determining that the search input includes the particular token, determining whether the one or more search terms are associated with a particular social page; and in response to determining that the one or more search terms are associated with the particular social page, providing the particular social page without providing search results.”
Method and Apparatus for Updating Song Playlists Based on Received User Ratings
U.S. Patent Application No. 20130124533
Internet applications for audio file management allow users to interact with a digital music library through a wireless network. For example, a user can communicate with a music library program to start playback of music. In a party setting, however, that user might want to gain input from other listeners to decide what music will satisfy most of their guests.
This patent application, filed by Google, would protect a system of gaining feedback from multiple users for audio file management. Users can connect with a program interface and rank music available through the host’s library. The program analyzes these rankings and adjusts the playlist to reflect these rankings from several users. Schematic images indicate that users would also be able to leave comments about available music for others to read.
Claim 1 of this patent application would earn Google legal protective status for:
“A method for updating song playlists based on received user ratings, comprising: receiving information associated with songs in an initial playlist from a host device; generating a rating interface for the initial playlist, the rating interface being associated with an image code; sending the image code for the rating interface to the host device; receiving one or more rating inputs from user devices, the user devices providing the rating inputs after accessing the rating interface through the image code; analyzing the received one or more rating inputs from the user devices, the analyzing producing an adjusted playlist; and transmitting the adjusted playlist to the host device, the host device providing for playing of songs in the adjusted playlist, the method being executed by a processor.”
Variably Controlling Access to Content
U.S. Patent Application No. 20130125248
Uploading digital copies of books, sheet music and other kinds of published works to online stores for sale can provide writers with a way to profit from their work. Variable samples of material for sale allow users to search online for different portions of the same material to find samples pertaining to different excerpts. However, making these samples available to users makes it easier for unscrupulous browsers to find ways of obtaining the document free of charge, often by requesting samples from different portions of the same material.
Google’s devised system of allowing variable access to documents or media files creates more security when making samples available to potential customers. Authors can designate one portion of the material to be an inaccessible sample, making it impossible to copy the entire material. Variable access can also be extended to users who access multiple samples; after so many samples, further requests can be denied as inaccessible.
As Claim 47 (Claims 1 through 46 cancelled) explains, Google has developed:
“A system for controlling access to a portion of a document, the system comprising: a non-transitory computer readable storage medium storing a computer program for performing a method of controlling access to a portion of a document, the method comprising: receiving a request from a user to access one of a plurality of portions of the document; identifying, based on data describing other users’ past accesses of other portions of the document, at least one inaccessible portion of the plurality of the portions; and determining, based on the identification, whether to provide access to the requested document portion to the user; and a computer processor for executing the computer program.”
Automatic Learning of Logos for Visual Recognition
U.S. Patent No. 8438163
Computing devices have become much more adept at visual recognition of faces, barcodes and other images that can be recorded by an image capture device. In many cases, the software providing visual recognition is based on models, within which the software can detect differences. For example, face-recognition software is programmed to recognize the basic facial structure, but not other parts of the human body. Shortcomings in visual recognition software make it difficult for mobile devices to recognize freeform images, like business or organizational logos.
Recently, the USPTO awarded Google a patent to protect a system of processing logo recognition. The visual recognition software would dissociate a logo into an image and any accompanying text to perform image-based and text-based searches separately. These image and text results are matched against the original logo image to correctly identify the affiliation of the logo.
Claim 1 of this US patent protects:
“A system comprising: one or more processors; a computer-readable medium coupled to the one or more processors having instructions stored thereon which, when executed by the one or more processors, cause the one or more processors to perform operations comprising: generating a query list comprising a plurality of logo search queries, wherein generating a query list comprises: searching a query log based on a term; identifying one or more image search queries of the query log corresponding to the term; and populating the query list with the one or more image search queries; for each logo search query of the plurality of logo search queries: generating a plurality of image search results, each image search result comprising image data, and clustering the plurality of image search results into a plurality of clusters, each cluster comprising a plurality of images of the plurality of image search results; extracting, for each cluster of the plurality of clusters, a representative image to provide a plurality of representative images, and a name corresponding to the representative image to provide a plurality of names; and providing the plurality of representative images and the plurality of names to a logo index, the logo index being accessible to identify one or more logo images in a query image.”