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Google Patent Application Promises Cleaner Data

The application describes a system for verifying listing information submitted by users, such as a merchant might enter when providing data to the Google Local Business Center about his or her business.

Thomas Claburn

March 30, 2007

1 Min Read

Google researchers are working on ways to clean up data submitted by Google users.

A patent application published on Thursday, "Online data verification of listing data," describes a system for verifying listing information submitted by users, such as a merchant might enter when providing data to the Google Local Business Center about his or her business.

"Because online data providers may not be the source of any of the information contained in a listing, they cannot be sure that the information they provide is accurate," the patent application explains. "To ensure the accuracy of the information provided by online data providers, online data providers may need to verify the information."

The patent application outlines a variety of possible client devices including PCs and mobile phones that may be used to submit either typed or voice input. The verification mechanism may include algorithmic data checks and/or requests for verification sent in the form of an e-mail or telephone call. Any subsequent response is used to verify the initial submission.

It's difficult to determine the damage done by bad data because there's no established standard for evaluating data accuracy. But it's clear that mistakes are made and that the information explosion hasn't been accompanied by an accuracy boom. According to a 2004 study by the National Association of State Public Interest Research Groups, "79% of the credit reports surveyed contained either serious errors or other mistakes of some kind."

About the Author(s)

Thomas Claburn

Editor at Large, Enterprise Mobility

Thomas Claburn has been writing about business and technology since 1996, for publications such as New Architect, PC Computing, InformationWeek, Salon, Wired, and Ziff Davis Smart Business. Before that, he worked in film and television, having earned a not particularly useful master's degree in film production. He wrote the original treatment for 3DO's Killing Time, a short story that appeared in On Spec, and the screenplay for an independent film called The Hanged Man, which he would later direct. He's the author of a science fiction novel, Reflecting Fires, and a sadly neglected blog, Lot 49. His iPhone game, Blocfall, is available through the iTunes App Store. His wife is a talented jazz singer; he does not sing, which is for the best.

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