New search engine patents
Innovation is the key success in the search engine industry -- Google has proved that beyond doubt. Due to this several companies invest heavily in developing new technologies, new ways of presenting results and new ways of gaining revenue.
Gary price has put up a list of 19 US search engine oriented patents or patents applications awarded since April 15, 2003 at his ResourceShelfPLUS site. What it shows is that "information retrieval research" is not limited to the search engine companies.
Microsoft, which -- mind you -- does not own the search engine powering its own MSN portal, is developing a system for detecting duplicate documents in Web crawls, presumably in order to be able to filter out identical sites from search results and stop the use of related spam techniques.
Amazon has developed a system for search query auto completion, meaning that the site will try to guess what you are searching for and complete popular queries for you.
There are also patents from Apple, Time Warner and IBM. Old timer AltaVista, now part of the Overture conglomerate, has patented a "method of ranking a plurality of pages identified during a search of a linked database". It is actually a new variant of the search engines' common attempt to identify authoritative sites and important "hubs". Links from such sites count more in the algorithm determining the order of search results.
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