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In this new weekly series, we’ll be looking at some recently granted Google Search Patents.
When it comes to search and SEO, there’s no easy way to know what’s in the black box that is Google. Patent filings can at least give us a glimpse.
It’s always worth noting that just because a patent was filed and granted, it doesn’t mean that Google’s using it. And if it is in use, we don’t know the thresholds or scoring values within the greater context.
All we’re after with this exercise is to get into the mindset. A sense of how things work in information retrieval.Latest Google Patents of Interest
Well, the last few weeks have been a bit quiet. Which is kinda sad for guys like Bill Slawski and myself.
But there were a “few” of interest the last few weeks, so let’s have a look.
Filed: Feb. 29 2023
Granted: January 14, 2023
“Systems and methods are disclosed for enriching a knowledge base for search queries. According to certain embodiments, images are assigned annotations that identify entities contained in the images. An object entity is selected among the entities based on the annotations and at least one attribute entity is determined using annotated images containing the object entity. A relationship between the object entity and the at least one attribute entity is inferred and stored in the knowledge base. In some embodiments, confidence may be calculated for the entities. The confidence scores may be aggregated across a plurality of images to identify an object entity.”
“In accordance with some embodiments, object recognition technology is used to annotate images stored in databases or harvested from Internet web pages. The annotations may identify who and/or what is contained in the images.”
“(…) can learn which annotations are good indicators for facts by aggregating annotations over object entities and facts that are already known to be true. Grouping annotated images by object entity helps identify the top annotations for the object entity. Top annotations can be selected as attributes for the object entities and relationships can be inferred between the object entities and the attributes.”
“(…) also provide improved systems and methods for calculating confidence scores for annotations assigned to images. Confidence scores may reflect likelihood that an entity identified by an annotation is actually contained in an image. Confidence scores may be calculated on a per-image basis and aggregated over groups of annotated images in order to improve image recognition and annotation techniques.”
Filed: March 15, 2023
Granted: January 28, 2023
“A computing system is described that determines a plurality of search queries for subsequent search during an event, and schedules, for each of the plurality of search queries, a respective time during the event to search the corresponding search query. Responsive to determining that a user of a computing device is experiencing the event at the respective time during the event at which a particular search query from the plurality of search queries is scheduled to be searched, the computing system searches the particular search query and automatically sends, to the computing device for subsequent display during the event, an indication of information returned from the search of the particular search query.”
“While experiencing an event (e.g., watching and/or listening to a presentation of content), a user may wish to obtain secondary information related to the event and may therefore interact with a computing device to manually search for such information while experiencing the event.”
“(…) while a user of a computing device is experiencing an event, dynamically obtain, and cause the computing device to present current information that is relevant to the event. The term “event” as used herein refers to any live performance, broadcast, playback, or other type of presentation of live or pre-recorded content (e.g., meeting presentations, assemblies, conferences, musical or theatrical performances, movies, television shows, songs, concerts, sports events, or any other types of live or pre-recorded content that users may experience).”
“(…) a user may wish to obtain secondary information about the event, at precise timestamps, or in response to particular “subevents” occurring, during the event. For example, while watching a sports event, a user may be interested in obtaining biographical information of a lesser-known player that just made an important play, or may be interested in seeing a replay of the important play. Or, while watching a movie, a user may be interested in seeing vacation deals or other information about an exotic geographical location that is the backdrop of a particular scene. Or while watching a movie or TV presentation, the user may wish to obtain biographical and other acting information about the actors, as they appear on the screen.”
“The system may pre-determine and store (e.g., in cache or other memory) one or more search queries for subsequent search when a user of a computing device is experiencing the event.”
Filed: August 21, 2023
Granted: January 7, 2023
“Methods, systems, and apparatus, including computer programs encoded on a computer storage medium, for tagging during speech recognition. A word lattice that indicates probabilities for sequences of words in an utterance is obtained. A conditional probability transducer that indicates a frequency that sequences of both the words and semantic tags for the words appear is obtained. The word lattice and the conditional probability transducer are composed to construct a word lattice that indicates probabilities for sequences of both the words in the utterance and the semantic tags for the words. The word lattice that indicates probabilities for sequences of both the words in the utterance and the semantic tags for the words is used to generate a transcription that includes the words in the utterance and the semantic tags for the words.”
“(…) obtaining, from an automated speech recognizer, an utterance-weighted word lattice that indicates probabilities for sequences of words in an utterance; obtaining a conditional probability transducer that indicates a frequency that sequences of both the words and semantic tags for the words appear;”
“The tagging may be performed by distilling a pre-existing very large named entity disambiguation (NED) model into a lightweight tagger. This may be accomplished by constructing a joint distribution of tagged n-grams from a supervised training corpus and then deriving a conditional distribution for a given lattice.”
Filed: May 3, 2023
Granted: January 21, 2023
“Methods, systems, and apparatus, including computer programs encoded on computer storage media for speech recognition. One method includes obtaining an input acoustic sequence, the input acoustic sequence representing an utterance, and the input acoustic sequence comprising a respective acoustic feature representation at each of a first number of time steps; processing the input acoustic sequence using a first neural network to convert the input acoustic sequence into an alternative representation for the input acoustic sequence; processing the alternative representation for the input acoustic sequence using an attention-based Recurrent Neural Network (RNN) to generate, for each position in an output sequence order, a set of substring scores that includes a respective substring score for each substring in a set of substrings; and generating a sequence of substrings that represent a transcription of the utterance.”
“Some speech recognition systems include a pronunciation system, an acoustic modeling system and a language model. The acoustic modeling system generates a phoneme representation of the acoustic sequence, the pronunciation system generates a grapheme representation of the acoustic sequence from the phoneme representation, and the language model generates the transcription of the utterance that is represented by the acoustic sequence from the grapheme representation.”
(…) “processing the input acoustic sequence using a first neural network to convert the input acoustic sequence into an alternative representation for the input acoustic sequence; processing the alternative representation for the input acoustic sequence using an attention-based Recurrent Neural Network (RNN) to generate, for each position in an output sequence order, a set of substring scores that includes a respective substring score for each substring in a set of substrings; and generating a sequence of sub strings that represent a transcription of the utterance.”Stay Tuned & Get Geeky
And there we have it for the first of many updates to come.
If you’ve never spent some quality time with a search patent – isn’t it time you did?
Be sure to come back each week for all the latest awards and get your geek on.
Over the coming months, I will also be writing in more detail when there’s an especially interesting Google patent that I think you should know about.
See you next week.
In-Post Images: USPTO
You're reading Google Search Patent Update – January 29, 2023
It’s been another week in the trenches and while it may have been a little slow out there, we did have some big news with Google Social Search. Question remains, will it really be a game changer or just another vertical? And what the SEO community lacked in activity, we did come across more IR geekiness, which makes this old horse a happy camper. We’ve also got a few interesting patents and more…
I hope this edition finds you well… Enjoy!Lead Story
When the news broke last week of Google’s Social Search going live, I thought, ‘this has got to be the big story of the week’. At the end of the day I’d say, maybe/maybe not. What we do know is that Google is once more looking to ‘get social’ and there is certainly interest. The part that isn’t as clear, much like Search/Side Wiki before it, is the level of adoption.
As a fella that has been following Google’s personalization/social trail the last few years, it was an interesting development. The burning question is always, “what effect will it have on SEO?”. There were those that said personalization would mean a massive change in what we do, that too, was a bit of an ambitious assertion.
Unless there are wholesale changes to its current implementation, I can’t see this being a game changer. Yes, it will likely present a new vertical with new opportunities, but beyond that it would seem this development will be limited in its effect on us.
Here’s a ton of coverage for you;
My own review!
Read Write Web
Search Engine Land
The Noisy Channel
Now let’s get on with the rest of this week’s search goodiness shall we?Buzz Bin Search Geek Central Search Patents
/end SOSG session
‘7 Days of Search and Social’ is a joint effort from Search Engine Journal and the SEO Training Dojo to bring you the latest in SEO and Social Search news. Each week (on Tuesdays) we’ll be posting the highlights of the most recent (SEO Geeks) newsletter here on Search Engine Journal.
Be sure to grab the SEJ feed for the latest or sign up to the SEO Dojo newsletter to get it straight to your inbox.
Microsoft and Apple Waging Unjust Patent War on Android Says Google
There comes a time in every great invention’s life where it has to defend itself against those who would falsely claim to have created it come hunting. Thus is the word coming out of the Google offices today via David Drummond, Senior Vice President and Chief Legal Officer for Google. He speaks harshly of both Apple and Microsoft in the following manner: “a hostile, organized campaign against Android by Microsoft, Oracle, Apple and other companies, waged through bogus patents.” Is there any salt to Drummond’s claims? He continues to drum up some rather scary factoids in his release today, not all of them simple conjecture.
Businesses like Winstron, Onkyo, Velocity Micro, General Dynamics Itronix, and HTC have signed agreements with Microsoft to pay listening fees for each Android device sold while Barnes & Noble, Motorola, and Samsung have been sued to continue adding to these ranks. Drummond notes that a single smartphone might involve as many as 250,000 of what he calls “largely questionable” patent claims, where Google’s competitors, Drummond continues, “competitors want to impose a “tax” for these dubious patents that makes Android devices more expensive for consumers.”
What this means, if what Drummond says is true, is that instead of creating new devices with innovative features to compete with Google, its competitors are fighting through litigation. Drummond continues by noting that this “anti-competitive” strategy is taking the cost of patents and driving it WAY beyond what they’re “really worth.” For example the Notel patent portfolio recently sold for nearly five times what it was estimated at pre-auction: $1 billion to $4.5 billion at the hammer fall. Drummond notes though that “the law frowns on the accumulation of dubious patents for anti-competitive means” and that therefore as these purchases of patents and suing of manufacturers is likely to draw regulatory scrutiny and this “patent bubble” will pop.
Drummond concludes his public statement with the following:
We’re not naive; technology is a tough and ever-changing industry and we work very hard to stay focused on our own business and make better products. But in this instance we thought it was important to speak out and make it clear that we’re determined to preserve Android as a competitive choice for consumers, by stopping those who are trying to strangle it.
We’re looking intensely at a number of ways to do that. We’re encouraged that the Department of Justice forced the group I mentioned earlier to license the former Novell patents on fair terms, and that it’s looking into whether Microsoft and Apple acquired the Nortel patents for anti-competitive means. We’re also looking at other ways to reduce the anti-competitive threats against Android by strengthening our own patent portfolio. Unless we act, consumers could face rising costs for Android devices — and fewer choices for their next phone.
What do you think? Does Google have a point, or are those with the patents the ones who have the right to get the patent cash?
Google is introducing a new experience called Search Console Insights which is designed to help site owners better understand their audience.
This experience joins data from both Search Console and Google Analytics in a joint effort to make it easy to understand content performance.
Data in Search Console Insights will help site owners answer question such as:
What are your best performing pieces of content, and which ones are trending?
How do people discover your content across the web?
What do people search for on Google before they visit your content?
Which article refers users to your website and content?
Site owners can access Search Console Insights via the new link at the top of the Overview page. Soon it will be accessible from Googles iOS app, with support for the Android app being planned as well.
Another way to access the data is by searching Google for a query that your site ranks for. This will return a Google-powered result at the top of the page titled “Search performance for this query.”
It’s possible to utilize Search Console Insights without Google Analytics, though it’s necessary to link the two in order to get the full experience.
Search Console Insights only supports Google Analytics UA properties at this time, though the company is working to support Google Analytics 4.
This new experience will gradually be rolled out to all Search Console users in the upcoming days.Almost a Year of Testing
Google has been testing Search Console Insights for nearly a year. We covered the launch of a closed beta test back in August 2023.
It appears the tool is still in its beta testing stage. The main difference between the two rollouts is Search Console Insights will soon be available to everyone, whereas last year it was available by invite only.
Aside from availability, there’s no announced changes between the version that was available in August 2023, and the version that will be available in the coming days.
It’s reasonable to think Google may have tweaked a few things during that time, but the company doesn’t highlight any updates.
Look for this new data available soon in your Search Console dashboard.
Source: Google Search Central Blog
Google Targets Low Quality Sites Again
Source : Google Inside Search Blog
Importance : [rating=4]Our Commentary
Google has started the rollout of a small algorithm update targeting poor quality websites. It’s been dubbed Penguin by SearchEngineLand.
The techniques Google are targeting as part of this update are not new and Google has been combating them for years already.
In their blog post announcing the change Google explain they are targeting both anchor text of links and quality of content on a page as primary focus. When looking at the examples used to explain the the type of spam they are targeting – you can see it is very keyword heavy copy or irrelevant links as part of the content as this image shows. It’s from an example of a site Google calls out which it is targeting:
We want people doing white hat search engine optimization (or even no search engine optimization at all) to be free to focus on creating amazing, compelling web sites
So, good news for businesses that want to create a brand, quality products and experiences. A blow for highly competitive niches where it is typically difficult to be creative and web spammers are active. Compared to the Panda changes, this update will only affect around 3% of English web queries so quite a small change in reality, though I believe combined with all recent updates a lot of poor quality sites will cease to exist in any meaningful way.
Surprisingly from reading on sites such as SearchEngineLand many people in the SEO industry are fed up with these changes. Astounding really, the fact is Google is a dominating force, its actions feel sensible and it is challenging businesses to step up, be remarkable and put effort in. The days of automated content scraping and link building are no more and lets face it, it has taken Google long enough to catch up with these lazy techniques. I don’t think SEO has died or is dying, it has just changed, as everything does.Our Recommendations
It is easy to get confused with the messages from Google, the lines between white & black hat SEO are in a state of flux depending on who you speak to and what day of the week it is… What we do however know, is creating highly engaging websites which require quality design and high quality content that is updated regularly is what is liked. That does require that your content is well organised and you have researched your keywords effectively, so very much still a place for On-page optimisation.4 tips for ensuring you stay in Google’s Good Books
Check your backlinks for signs of low quality or spammy links (utilise MajesticSEO or OpenSiteExplorer to help analyse)
Ensure you only have high quality content on your site (check any external news finds or copy writer work), put another way, only create amazing content for your brand and audience
Complete quarterly SEO audits and run training with internal teams every 6 months
Ask your agencies about the types of links they will generate for you as part of an initial pitching process and ongoing reviews
Update: Google has confirmed this issue is fixed.
Today we became aware of an issue that impacted some navigational and site: operator searches. We investigated & have since fixed the bug. Contrary to some speculation, this did not target particular sites or political ideologies….
— Google SearchLiaison (@searchliaison) July 21, 2023
Google’s Danny Sullivan also quells some speculation that this issue specifically targeted particular sites.
“Today’s issue affected sites representing a range of content and different viewpoints,” Sullivan says in a separate tweet.
The original story continues below:
There’s currently an issue with the ‘site:’ command in Google Search that may fail to show a site’s indexed content.
Google’s Danny Sullivan confirms the issue is being investigated, along with any other potential issues related to the ‘site:’ command not working.
We are aware of an issue with the site: command that may fail to show some or any indexed pages from a website. We are investigating this and any potentially related issues.
— Google SearchLiaison (@searchliaison) July 21, 2023
The ‘site:’ command is designed to help searchers find all pages within a site that contain a specific word or phrase.
It’s a command that that is commonly used by SEOs to perform various tasks, but the command can be used by anyone.
If you’re using the ‘site:’ command to find content within your own site, be aware that some or all content may not be found regardless of whether it’s properly indexed.
This is not an issue with Google’s index, it’s an issue with the command itself.
Content that currently cannot be found with the ‘site:’ command can still be surfaced with other queries.
At least that’s true according to what we know at this point.
After Google’s investigation it may come to light that there are other issues related to this one, but let’s not worry about that until we have to.
This is a developing story.
Updates to this article will be published as soon as more information becomes available.
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