Browsing articles tagged with " patent"
Feb 4, 2010
Anand Srinivasan

Yahoo’s Predictive Technology Will Display Ads Depending On Your Travel Destination

Exciting. Location-based advertising is not exactly new. But a new patent filed by Yahoo takes it a step further which will help to make advertising a lot more targeted and useful.

Imagine that you are in San Francisco and are driving to Los Angeles. A search query for “Best hotels” would normally pick your location and display advertisements from San Francisco based hoteliers. However, according to a new patent titled “SYSTEM FOR PROVIDING LOCATION PREDICTIVE ADVERTISING” filed by Yahoo at the US Patent and Trademark Organization (USPTO), the algorithm may be able to study the direction you are traveling to determine your destination and deliver ads accordingly. Thus a search for “best hotels” from San Francisco while traveling to Los Angeles might actually get you results for Los Angeles based hotels.

Explaining about this technology on their patent, the inventors write

“a system may include a memory, an interface and a processor. The memory may be operatively connected to the processor and the interface and may store an advertisement. The interface may communicate with an electronic device. The processor may determine a first geographic location of an electronic device which is travelling in a direction. The processor may identify a first geographic region which may encompass the first geographic location of the electronic device. The processor may determine a second geographic region which is located in the direction of travel of the electronic device. The processor may determine an advertisement associated with the second geographic region in accordance with the electronic device being located within the first geographic region. The processor may provide the advertisement to the electronic device. ”

Yahoo says this technology can be used at an intra-city, inter-city as well as international level. They further claim that advertisers who spend a lot of their budget purchasing inventory from untargeted sources (Eg: Hoteliers in Los Angeles purchasing inventory in San Francisco) may now save money on such a wasteful expenditure.

Do you think that’s possible?

Feb 2, 2010
Anand Srinivasan

Augmented Reality Coming To Flickr?

Imagine these scenario : You have just been from a trip to New York and have shared pictures on Flickr. One of the pics is of a burger shop that you loved and want to share the same with your friends on Flickr. It is normal for people to write such things on the image description area.

However, Yahoo has a better plan. In a patent filed by the company, the inventors explain the concept of a “virtual note” that can be overlaid across pictures that you have taken so that description of places captured in a photo as well as subsequent comments can happen inside the photo itself.

This is not all. The inventors talk of more embodiments. With geotagging already possible on Flickr, users may also browse across such virtual notes from a map view.

However, the most significant aspect of the invention is the use of augmented reality. The inventors describe that since these virtual notes are geotagged, accessing the service from a mobile device will gather all virtual notes geotagged to locations within a particular radius from the location of the mobile device that can be displayed to the user.

Flickr Augmented Reality

There appear to be a variety of use-cases to such an invention. Primarily this can simply serve as a tagging tool for Flickr users. However, such a tool can also grow to be a local-review feature (like Yelp?)where user reviews of places within localities can be accessed at a press of a button. And the worst use-case of all?Advertisers can use the virtual note feature to promote their places to people in the vicinity; much like Google’s ads on maps.

Feb 1, 2010
Anand Srinivasan

Acer Technology Helps Your Watch Television Via Instant Messenger Service

Acer is working on a technology that will combine the real-time connectivity offered by instant messengers with Internet Protocol TV (IPTV) technology to build a system that will enable users watch the TV shows of their choice right from the comfort of their instant messengers.

The technology, a patent for which was filed with the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) recently describes a way to connect an instant messaging module to a television card and control the outputted audio and video signals from the IM service.
It is not clear if Acer plans to integrate this service with third party messengers like Skype or Yahoo Messenger

Jan 29, 2010
Anand Srinivasan

Bank Of America Brings Proximity-Based Authentication

Next time you forget your login credentials for your BoA account and ask for the password to be sent to your mobile phone, chances are that the system will track the location of your device as well.

In a new patent filed by the company, the inventors claim one way of minimizing risks in false authentication is by ensuring that a mobile device the password is sent to is at more or less the same location as the computer terminal used to access the online account. The inventors say this location based service could help add an alternative way to authenticate the user over the existing methods.

The inventors say the location of the mobile phone can be tracked by one of several ways such as GPS, Wireless IP geolocation, cellphone tower signal triangulation,etc.

Do you see this technology helping authentication or do you think this is a needless additional layer?

Jan 26, 2010
Anand Srinivasan

TeleNav Building GPS-Based Blogging System

Telenav, the Sunnyvale based maker of GPS Navigator might probably be looking at location-based blogging as the next logical step in their product diversification. In a patent filed earlier this month, the inventors from the company have described a technology that will help users create and read location-based blog entries.

What exactly is location-based blogging? Telenav inventors explain that in the current scenario, users can geotag any of the multimedia that they wish to share. While this is interesting to the readers, it is not particularly useful if a reader is looking at particular location based information. For instance, a user might want to take a look at all pictures taken from the top of the Empire State Building. Telenav sees location-based blogging as being able to categorize geotagged multimedia and offer valuable content to the readers. The inventors write

“a need remains for a mobile location based blogging system to efficiently create, populate and manage location-based blogs and to make the process of creating new User Generated Content for those location-blogs. In view of the ever-increasing added features desired by consumers in their mobile client devices, it is more and more critical that answers be found to these problems.”

The inventors explain the process with the help of an illustration

“FIG. 6A displays a street map on the multimedia display interface 210 of the client 102 of the general purpose mobile location-blogging system 100. In another example, FIG. 6B illustrates a set of general purpose location-blogs in a list format on the multimedia display interface 210 of the client 102.”

“n FIG. 6C and 6D, therein are illustrated the multimedia display interface 210 of a location-blog entry. For example, in an operation with update location-blog command, the client 102 can accept a location-blog command user input and a multimedia user input that can include a video recording, audio recording, image, text, multimedia data, or any combination thereof. The location-blog command and the multimedia data are sent to the server 104 of FIG. 2 in the server request 202 of FIG. 2. The server 104 can create a new location-blog entry that is associated with the new multimedia data. “

GPS-based blogging appears to be an interesting invention which can be quite popular. What is your view on this? Let us know in the comments.

Jan 25, 2010
Anand Srinivasan

Hewlett Packard Building Intent-Based Search Engine?

You will have to take this with a grain of salt, but it is possible that Hewlett Packard could be working on a search engine.  A recent patent filed in the name of ‘Jianwei Dian’ describes a search engine that will understand the “intent” of the user inputting the search query and list results that the user needs; not simply match the query with web pages like Google.

So, how does it work? The inventor explains that the process will involve understanding the query of the user and delivering results of the information and not just the web pages that contain the words from the query (like Google does). So, if you query “Contact Information of Jianwei Dian”, you are likely to see results ranked by those web pages that contain the email, phone number, etc. of Jianwei rather than just web pages that match the query. The inventor writes

“With considering both the relevance and reliability of the matched web pages, the intent match search engine more likely will give high rankings to the web pages that both contain the information the user is looking for and are reliable sources of information. This saves the user’s time, since the few top web pages or even the very first web page may already contain what the user is looking for and is also the most reliable source of information. The user doesn’t need to navigate through a lot of matched web pages before he finds what he is looking for. “

HP files Intent Based Search Engine

While the patent looks interesting, there is still not enough confirmation about who the patent really belongs to. The patent is filed in the name of ‘Jianwei Dian’ from Plano Texas. A quick search (on Google!) on the inventor gave us the following information:

Name: DIAN Jianwei
Location: Plano, TX
Company: Hewlett-Packard Company
E-mail: jianwei.dian@xxxxxx.net
Phone: XXX-XXX-XXXX (Home)

What do you think? Is HP indeed working on a search engine? Tell us your thoughts.

Jan 21, 2010
Anand Srinivasan

Apple Developing Own GPS Based Parking Information Service?

Apple is working on a technology that will couple real-time parking availability information with other parameters to offer users an intelligent parking availability information.

In a patent titled “PARKING & LOCATION MANAGEMENT PROCESSES & ALERTS ” filed with the US Patent and Trademark Office, the company talks of a technology that will consolidate information from a variety of sources  - like the current location of the different buses in your route, the location of the nearest available taxi, streets where a sweeping schedule is on, parking lot availability, Parking cost at different areas, etc. to deliver information to the user that will help them decide where to park their cars.

This is an  ”intelligent” technology where the system will deliver the information based on user preferences (like how much they are willing to walk from the parking lot), current weather information (so that a parking space that is more expensive, but closer to office may chosen during bad weather days). The inventors write

“a general profile may indicate a user would be willing to walk 0.5 miles to save $5.00 in parking. However, an inclement weather profile for the user may prioritize avoidance of walking, even if parking was more expensive. A higher security profile may indicate less walking. A profile itself can be selected based on defined user parameters, as well as information retrieved from databases, such as weather-related information from Destination interface, which may access destination weather information stored in destination database.”

It is interesting that a lot of companies are working on GPS-based  Parking Information technology. You might remember the patent filed by Yahoo recently where the company had talked of a similar technology.

What do you make of such a system? Exciting? Let us know in the comments.

Jan 20, 2010
Anand Srinivasan

Internet Explorer To Come With A Dashboard To Manage All Open Tabs?

The default windows of Google Chrome and a few other browsers show a thumbnail of all the recently viewed websites. Taking this a step further, Microsoft wants you to be able to organize your open-tabs better.

In a patent filed recently at the US Patent and Trademark Office, Microsoft writes that the purpose of a ‘Quick Pick’ interface is to help users who have several dozens of tabs open a quick way to surf through all open tabs and pick the right window.

Here is what we know about the Quick-Pick Interface

  • A Quick-pick button shall be available on the navigation menu of the browser and it could additionally come with a hot-key
  • Pressing the same will open the Quick-Pick Interface which will display the open tabs in thumbnail fashion
  • Hover your mouse over any of the thumbnails to see a bigger picture of the window

  • Reorganize your tabs by dragging the thumbnails across on the Quick-Pick interface
  • Close all unwanted tabs from the Quick-pick interface
  • Click on the tab you want to go to on the Quick-pick interface

The Quick-Pick interface appears to serve as a dashboard from where you may manage all your open windows. But I wonder how many users will actually need such an interface to manage tabs. Except for the power users (who I believe have migrated away from IE a long time back), not many would see a need for this. What do you think?

Jan 18, 2010
Anand Srinivasan

Nokia Moves Ahead On Flexible Phone Displays

The next generation of phones wouldn’t need you to carry them in your pockets. They shall be flexible enough to be worn as a bracelet. While concept phones as these are not exactly new, Nokia’s new patent offers some interesting insights into what the company is working on.

In the patent titled “USER INTERFACE, DEVICE AND METHOD FOR A PHYSICALLY FLEXIBLE DEVICE”, the inventors reveal the development of a technology that will enable display screens to adapt to bend. An excerpt from the patent reads

“a user interface and a device incorporating such user interface having a flexible screen capable of being small and mobile while still allowing several user actions to be taken is desirable.”

An interesting invention described in the patent is about the way the phone shall carry out different tasks based on the way it is bent. An example suggested in the patent reads

“In one embodiment the pre-specified shape is also associated with a movement. As a pre-specified shape is detected and followed by the detection of a pre-specified movement an associated function is executed.

“FIG. 10a shows a device having been bent to resemble a can, possibly used to hold beer or soda. A search will thus be performed for a bar or a pub either a specific franchise or any bar or pub in the neighborhood.

FIG. 10b shows a device having been bent to resemble a bowl. A search will thus be performed for a restaurant either a specific franchise or any restaurant in the neighborhood.

FIG. 10c shows a device having been bent to resemble a roof or a tent. A search will thus be performed for a hotel, motel or guest house either a specific franchise or any hotel, motel or guesthouse in the neighborhood. “

Nokia had earlier said that such technologies will be the  norm by 2015. What do you think? Will we such devices in the mainstream by then?

Jan 15, 2010
Anand Srinivasan

Yahoo Bringing Real-time Parking Space Availability On Maps

Yahoo is working on a technology that will enable visitors to get real time parking space availability information on the internet or mobile phone. According to a patent filed by the company at the US Patent and Trademark Office, the invention will make use of sensors attached to the individual parking lots which will be tracked real time on Yahoo Maps.

In the filing, the inventors write

“[A] parking availability determining system includes a sensor system and a parking availability determiner. The sensor system is configured to monitor a plurality of parking spaces. The sensor system includes at least one sensor element that generates a sensor data output signal. The parking availability determiner receives the sensor data output signal and generates parking availability information.”

The inventors make a concluding statement about how the parking space availability information may be used

“Note that parking availability determiner and/or map generator may include hardware, software, firmware, or any combination thereof to perform at least a portion of their functions. For example, parking availability determiner and/or map generator may include computer code configured to be executed in one or more processors. Alternatively, parking availability determinerand/or map generator may include hardware logic/electrical circuitry.”

Is Yahoo planning to enter GPS navigation market?