Location sharing is one of the buzzwords of late and companies are realizing the opportunity in this field. One of the leading developers of smartphones, Palm could soon be launching their own location sharing feature among users.
In a patent published recently by the US Patent and Trademark Office, Palm has sought to introduce a feature that will push notifications to the users’ mobile phones whenever one of their friends too happen to be in the same location. In the patent, the inventors write
“A mobile computing device comprises a user input device, an output device, a memory configured to store data and a processing circuit. The processing circuit is configured to receive user input from the user input device indicative of a request to associate the stored data with a second mobile computing device, to receive an indication that the second mobile computing device is proximate to the mobile computing device, and to provide a notification to the user via the output device based on the indication.“
This sounds very much like Google Latitude. What do you think of this new upcoming feature? Do you see interest in the device picking up because of this? Tell us in the comments.
Google’s book scanning process was patented way back in March of last year. However, till date, we were not able to catch it in action. An article on how the activity is being performed in a Japanese library gives us a glimpse how Google is able to achieve the following:
a. Scan the pages quickly
b. How the text near the curved middle section of the book is captured
c. What is being done to avoid page skipping and accidental capture of the hands of the book flipper
According to an article published on SciTeDaily, the books are not placed upside down as in traditional practice. They are kept facing up and two cameras photograph the two pages. Another IR ray that throws up light in a specific maze like structure captures the text near the curvature in order to ‘flatten’ it to decipher what the text might look when straight.
Google has also apparently patented a music based technology that will give a buzz every time a page is skipped or the book flippers’ hands appear inadvertently.
Quite a few of us would have used the Google Real Estate portal while buying or selling real estate properties. These listings, which are either got through web-crawling or when real estate agents submit their listings are absolutely free. The only way Google monetizes the properties is through text-based advertisements on the sidebar and at the bottom of the map-based listings.
Now, it appears that the company is working on technology that will bring advertisements right into the map. In a recently filed patent titled “Claiming Real Estate in Panoramic or 3D Mapping Environments for Advertising”, the company explains how the ad-bidding system for real estate advertising will work. In the patent, Google writes
“Techniques for identifying groups of features in an online geographic view of a real property and replacing and/or augmenting the groups of features with advertisement information are described. The techniques include providing a geographic view of a property within an online property management system, identifying a region of interest in the geographic view, analyzing the geographic view to locate one or more promotional features within the geographic view positioned upon a real property region, providing a user-selectable link associated with the region of interest in the geographic view, receiving a request for the region of interest in the geographic view via the user-selectable link, receiving data to alter at least one of the behavior or the appearance of the region of interest, storing the data in association with the geographic view, and updating the region of interest within the geographic view based upon the received data.”
The patent talks elaborately about how the advertisers’ dashboard shall work and how the system will work to display the sponsored listings.
The system will apparently work on the basis of how popular a particular real estate property is. It is not clear if the advertisement will appear across a locality or shall be tagged alongside a particular real estate property.
You might remember that this is not the first time Google is introducing sponsored listings on Google Maps. Such ads are already available on generic map views. However, it appears that this will be the first time when these listings will also be made available on real estate listings.
Google Chrome OS is one of the hottest and most awaited products for 2010. Demos of the product have already been made by Google executives. While, we do already have an idea of the basic user interfaces, a recently filed patent reveals a much deeper insight into the upcoming Google Chrome OS.
The patent which is titled “Web based user interface for selecting options” talks specifically about icon display and selection. In the patent, Google talks about the ‘cons’ of the competitor operating systems like Windows XP and Apple OS X. About Apple, Google writes
“One shortcoming is that jsdock uses inefficient algorithms for discovering that an icon is indicated or not indicated and for scaling icons. Another shortcoming is that jsdock displays each icon by scaling a single image to the appropriate size. Yet another shortcoming is that jsdock is limited to image scaling effects.”
Google claims to do away with inefficiencies in the previous Operating systems display mechanisms with their own algorithm that helps to scale image sizes differently while user works on them.
Google’s patent also reveals a minimalist UI of the Google Chrome OS window. Here is a screenshot of the same
Remember Google’s Sidewiki project – The Google toolbar extension that let users to collaboratively provide reviews, ratings and further discussion on existing webpages? Well, if rumors are true, the Sidewiki project could soon be taking center stage on your webpages and not just be relegated to a side of the browser.
According to this, Google has been working on a technology that will help users make annotations, highlight parts of the webpage and load these annotations every time they visit the page.
Google explains the technology thus
Among other things, a computer-implemented method for annotating webpage content includes accessing a webpage in a browser, the webpage under control of a third party. A collection of annotations stored at a storage location is retrieved, the annotations collection associated with the webpage and an annotations author. The webpage is displayed with the retrieved annotations collection overlaid on the accessed webpage.
For now, it is still not clear if this patent seeks to extend the functionlity of Sidewiki or the more forgotten Google Notebook. Google Notebook, as you might remember is a personal note-taking tool which let users copy, paste text from different sources on to a single place. Sidewiki is just a social extension of Notebook and going by the patent description above, this looks like taking Sidewiki a step further rather than Notebook.
The idea does look cool, though it can make things a bit spammy. I have personally not been a fan of Youtube annotations, and if this were to be something similar, I don’t think I would ever choose to see this.
Google is apparently working on a technology that will help in improving the contextual relevance of image and video ads. A recently published patent explains how the newly developed technology works.
Google explains the need for such a technology with the following example
“However, providing ads and other documents based on user-related content does not ensure the propriety of that content for a particular audience. For instance, a beer advertisement may not be appropriate on a website for recovering alcoholics, even though the ad and the content of the website are related by subject matter.”
The newly developed technology will scan through images and videos for appropriateness as well as contextual relevance. An extract from the patent reads
“An embodiment of the present invention provides for uploading a document such as a graphical advertisement and comparing the document to other documents. The document can be compared to other documents by a document processor (e.g., automatically by an image processor). The processor may process images, sound files, and other data to identify text and images (as well as spoken words and other data) in the image ad. For instance, text may be identified in an image using optical character recognition (OCR) technology. By comparing the document to other documents, content can be identified in and associated with the document, and the document can be accordingly rated and approved based on this content and the status of the ratings of the comparison documents. The document can also be associated with content-based concepts (e.g., keywords, subject matter, etc.) that relate to a service or product associated with the documents.”
This definitely sounds a very interesting way to expedite the process of approving image and video ads as well as while delivering them contextually. You may view the patent abstract by clicking here (temporary link)