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5/18/2007
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Google Patent Applications Point To PageRank Changes

The key patent applications would create a Programmable Search Engine that would lead to improved media search and dynamic content.

Recent patent applications filed by Google show that the online search leader is working to soup up its search algorithm to provide more detailed and targeted results. Those improvements could lead to improved media search and dynamic content, according to a search engine expert who discussed the findings at this week's Enterprise Search Summit meeting in New York and in a Wall Street analyst report.

Stephen E. Arnold, managing director of Arnold IT and the author of a book on Google, said his analysis of recent patents filed by Google indicates the search engine company will be able to increase its dominance of the search market and dashes predictions that competitors like Microsoft and Yahoo will whittle away at the firm's lead.

Arnold, whose opinions were outlined this week in a Bear Stearns report, said Google is augmenting its PageRank algorithm by beefing up its search and indexing methodology. The key patent applications, published in February, would create a Programmable Search Engine that would lead to more structured Web page data.

"The PSE will be the basic foundation behind Google's Semantic Web and will be invisible to the searcher, but will augment the search experience to a level that will be hard for competitors to duplicate quickly or easily," the Bear Stearns report states.

The Programmable Search Engine-based technology can deliver a series of improvements, including more personal results for individual users, reduce spoofed results by spammers, and deliver additional granular detail -- for instance, detailing car inventory and not just a dealer's phone number. The technology also could index password-protected information while indexing dynamic sites -- for instance, providing user-requested flight information.

The heart of the new technology is based on five patents created by Ramanathan Guha, which, taken together, would let Google's next-generation search engine gain access to more interactive programming and allow more involvement by outside Webmasters. The Bear Stearns report went on to state: "Based on the patent filings, we believe Dr. Guha's work points to Google adding the PSE functionality as a component of PageRank."

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