6/25/07

Local.com Announces New Local Search Patent

I don't know how it came to be that I find reading local search patents interesting. This patent issued to Local .com contains some interesting passages and pretty fantastic claims;

"Relational Database Management Systems (RDBMS) have been used in web sites that provide some local search capabilities. Such conventional web sites organize information according to location and store it into a relational database. Online yellow pages, such as Superpages for instance (www.superpages.com), store local business information in a relational database and utilize SQL language for searching. The database contains business name, address, and telephone data. The web page content of a business is not searchable since it is not stored in the relational database. Thus conventional services such as online yellow pages are not a true local search engine."

Small business isn't served well by the major search engines, paticularly the way Google Pagegank measures the value of a website.


"Other conventional systems provide a ranking of search results in relation to the user supplied search words. Ranking web pages is an important part of conventional search engine operation. As an example, a typical user tends to provide one or two keywords to a conventional search engine. As a specific example, the keyword "java" by Google returns 65,800,000 web page hits. The same keyword "Java" by Yahoo returns 53,900,000 records. There are so many hits with conventional web sites that a user is unable to realistically visit the web pages of every one of such hit. Using conventional search engine technology, any web document containing "java" will be included in the hits. The first hit of Google is http://java.sun.com. The first hit in Yahoo is http://www.sun.com. Both Google and Yahoo provide results that indicate java is a programming language from Sun Microsystems. However, the word java has many other meanings. People that are not familiar with java programming language would be surprised at the search results. The reason why do Google and Yahoo rank the java programming language first instead of a coffee shop is because of the ranking algorithm used by these web search engines. As an example, a ranking system called PageRank is considered the foundation of Google. U.S. Pat. No. 6,285,999 entitled "Method for node ranking in a linked database" described a page rank system used by Google. The entire content of U.S. Pat. No. 6,285,999 is hereby incorporated by reference in its entirety. The PageRank system calculates recursively the rank score of web page by looking at its linked web pages--that is, those pages that link to (i.e., that contain a hyperlink that reference the URL of) the page being ranked. A higher ranked web page has a higher weight in the ranking equation. Because of the way in which the PageRank algorithm operates, some companies hire so called search engine marketing experts to build web pages linked with each other to boost the score by increasing the number of remote web pages that reference a particular companies web site.

For a small business's web site that has only a few sites linked to it, or for businesses that do not have the money to boost PageRank by search engine marketing experts, search engines that use page ranking provide results that contain the small business site referenced deep into the search results, often resulting in consumers missing those small business sites. Since the small business web site's PageRank is low, even if it can be searched by a traditional search engine, the results indicating the small business web site will be hundreds of pages away in the search results. Embodiments of the invention significantly overcome this problem using a unique ranking system that incorporates geographic location as well to rank a page based on other pages of other sites that are local to the page being ranked.

Another system disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 6,282,540 entitled "Method and system for providing a web-sharable personal database", the entire contents of which is hereby incorporated by reference herein, details a system for providing a web-sharable personal database with proximity searching capability. The system described in this patent is not a local geographic based search engine. Instead, it focuses on create a personal database and stored address information in database. Furthermore, it did not address the challenge of mixing the power of conventional search engine with geographical awareness."


I confess I don't know how this makes Local.com any more important than it was yesterday. What is clear is Local.com feels the heat from the Geomas lawsuit.
For the record I like Local.com. I use it and I root for it, I even own some stock. I like the David v. Goliath stories in life, cheering the underdog.

1 comment:

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