Google Seeks Patent on Method for Brokering Know-How

By Steve Brachmann
May 30, 2014

There are few more successful companies in terms of intellectual property protections than Google Inc. of Mountain View, CA. This multinational developer of Internet-based consumer and business services has made incredible breakthroughs in many high-tech fields, including their recent announcement regarding development of a driverless car without a steering wheel or brake pedals. The company has been increasing the presence of its flagship Android operating system software for computing devices, unveiling Google Play-connected devices for consumers in Norway and Sweden in the past few weeks. There are also rumors being discussed by reputable news outlets regarding the possibility of Google developing a tablet capable of capturing 3D images for business applications.

Google is one of the stalwarts that we feature regularly on IPWatchdog’s Companies We Follow series, and our research into Google’s innovations always manage to unveil a great crop of unique inventions. The recently published patent applications and issued patents assigned to Google by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office cover a vast field of innovation involving computing technologies, many of which improve systems of providing meaningful data to end users for various means.

A specialized type of content management system for brokering knowledge between experts and individuals who need various kinds of technical help is the focus of today’s featured patent application. Google is trying to protect a system for requesting know-how from an expert in return for virtual credits. Other patent applications have been filed to protect systems for better ranking of news stories as well as methods for providing contextual definitions of selected text within a document.

Google is one of America’s top patent assignees over the past few years, and in recent weeks the company has been issued patents for technologies ranging from music recommendation services to routing systems incorporation public transit options. We were very intrigued by one patent protecting a method of providing advertisements to local devices seeking to drive those browsing the Internet into actual retail stores. Another patent protects methods of applying more relevant ads to web pages using content inferences made from analysis of links contained on the web page.

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Method and Web Platform for Brokering Know-How
U.S. Patent Application No. 20140136535

It has become incredibly commonplace nowadays for many software programs to be presented to users as Web-based applications using online platforms. Javascript, XML, HTML and other programming languages allow developers to develop feature-rich applications for personal or even enterprise use, such as is the case with content management systems. Today, there are an incredible number of applications for social networking, shopping and more that allow users to interact with large inventories of data at the same time as thousands of other users.

Although some of the types of software mentioned above have been widely developed by a number of companies, especially social networking applications, there are some ends for which these programs have not been fully developed. One such area where Internet users could benefit from an intelligent Web-based software application is in the field of brokering know-how or expertise. An online network providing effective knowledge-based solutions to consumers would be an effective means for accomplishing this job.

This patent application was filed by Google with the USPTO in January 2014 in the hopes of protecting just such a Web-based system for brokering expertise. Users can register with the system, which can also display users anonymously when interacting with others. Users can either offer or request know-how in a variety of categories which can be adjusted by a system administrator. This system also enables providers and requesters to engage in agreements on work to be done for a requesting individual; requesters can pay providers with virtual credits that can be bought with or converted into money.

This method of brokering know-how also includes methods for rating service providers based on credits offered by know-how requesters. Once know-how or expertise has been presented to a requesting individual in the form of a chat session, data reports, documentation or some other format, users can rate the work returned by an expert; ratings link to the appropriate skill category for a provider.

Claim 1 of this patent application would give Google the right to protect:

“A computer-implemented method comprising: registering, with one or more processors, a first user and a second user in an electronic web service platform; receiving from the first user a user offer for at least one of know-how or skills in a first interest area category; responsive to the first user providing the at least one of know-how or skills, receiving form other consumers ratings for the first user in the first interest area category; receiving from the second user a search for the at least one of know-how or skills in the first interest area category; determining, with the one or more processors, a first amount for the first user to provide the at least one of know-how or skills in the first interest area category to the second user based on the ratings; receiving from the second user an acceptance of the first amount; and providing, with the one or more processors, the web services platform for the first user to provide the at least one of know-how or skills in the first interest area category to the second user.”

 

Other Patent Applications 

From U.S. Patent Application No. 20140149402, entitled “Providing Definitions That are Sensitive to the Context of a Text.”

Google is a major developer of software for mobile computing devices, like the Android operating system software powering a great many smartphones and tablet computers used around the world. A couple of patent applications that popped up on our radar deal with various improvements to computing technologies for devices. For example, the pinpoint location of a electronic device can be better determined with the system laid out in U.S. Patent Application No. 20140141804, filed under the title Using Peer Devices to Locate a Mobile Device. This system uses multiple devices in close physical proximity to the device to be located to determine the exact location of a device when there are too few wireless access points to return an exact reading. Improved systems for providing definitions in eBook readers are discussed in U.S. Patent Application No. 20140149402, entitled Providing Definitions That are Sensitive to the Context of a Text. In this system, users can select text displayed on an eBook reader device and retrieve the best definition from multiple databases using a processor meant to analyze the contextual relevance of a given definition.

A great number of innovations related to Internet-based services also come out of Google’s research and development facilities, as our featured patent application shows. We were intrigued by the system of determining the listing priority of online articles from news publications described within U.S. Patent Application No. 20140143259, titled Identification and Ranking of News Stories of Interest. This invention is comprised of a system of attributing a score to news publications, helping to assign a display priority to various news articles collected for a news hub page on a single topic. Methods of returning even more relevant results for search engine queries are the focus of U.S. Patent Application No. 20140149399, which is titled Determining User Intent from Query Patterns. This system analyzes the history of search queries entered by a user to refine the relevance of a user’s future search query results, including all past search engine query sessions an individual has engaged in.

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Issued Patents of Note

Whenever we look at the patents which have been recently issued to Google from the USPTO, we here at IPWatchdog are always intrigued by the imaginative nature of some of these products. Software and other computer-implemented processes have already provided a great deal of real-world impact through better database administration, social networking, financial brokerage and innumerable other areas of personal and business life. Once again, we’re glad to share some of our favorite Google innovations with our readers, who may be intrigued by the incredible scope of this corporation’s technological research and development aims.

Many of Google’s software inventions involve analytical systems for determining various items of relevance to digital content such as documents or video files. Methods that could be used to better determine relevant ads to display in documents published online are protected by U.S. Patent No. 8739066, entitled Systems and Methods for Inferring Concepts for Association With Content. This system would be able to determine more relevant ads to publish on web pages by inferring concepts relating to the first web page by analyzing the documents or websites contained in links included on the first web page. Those heavily involved in posting video content to YouTube may benefit from the audio production tool protected by U.S. Patent No. 8737817, which is titled Music Soundtrack Recommendation Engine for Videos. This system is capable of recommending music soundtrack suggestions for videos that don’t already have music soundtracks by generating a set of semantic values based on the video’s content.

From U.S. Patent No. 8738286, titled “Transit Routing System for Public Transportation Trip Planning.”

A couple of novel routing systems for personal travel using public transportation are protected by a few other patents that we noticed in our search today. More inclusive systems of planning trips using a plurality of transit options are featured in U.S. Patent No. 8738286, issued under the title Transit Routing System for Public Transportation Trip Planning. This system involves preprocessing of traffic data from a plurality of transit systems, including buses and railways, to provide quicker results for routing queries by determining optimal transfer patterns prior to queries. Public transportation mapping is also the focus of U.S. Patent No. 8738284, titled Method, System, and Computer Program Product for Dynamically Rendering Transit Maps. This system would provide better mapping applications for smartphone and tablet devices that include dynamic and interactive routing features for public transit.

Finally, we wanted to wrap up with a final patent-protected innovation which is directed at a technology that can help drive online browsers to brick-and-mortar stores to buy items which are currently in-stock. U.S. Patent No. 8738461, entitled Display of Popular, In-Stock Products of a Merchant, protects a system that creates an electronic document corresponding to the physical location of a store and a popular item currently on sale at that establishment. The electronic document, or place page, created by this system would include the merchant’s address, phone number, map and popular available products, using in-store data on sales to determine popular products.

The Author

Steve Brachmann

Steve Brachmann is a freelance journalist located in Buffalo, New York. He has worked professionally as a freelancer for more than a decade. He writes about technology and innovation. His work has been published by The Buffalo News, The Hamburg Sun, USAToday.com, Chron.com, Motley Fool and OpenLettersMonthly.com. Steve also provides website copy and documents for various business clients and is available for research projects and freelance work.

Warning & Disclaimer: The pages, articles and comments on IPWatchdog.com do not constitute legal advice, nor do they create any attorney-client relationship. The articles published express the personal opinion and views of the author and should not be attributed to the author’s employer, clients or the sponsors of IPWatchdog.com. Read more.

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