Robert_Charlton - 6:03 pm on Jun 22, 2010 (gmt 0)
I don't get what the fuss is. Google already has the data about which queries aren't satisfying searchers. It would be odd for a search engine not to have this. At the least, Google identifies when people keep on searching but stop clicking vs what search refinements searchers try that appear satisfactory.
I assume the patent is codifying Google's methodology, probably so Google's competitors can't prevent them from using their own data. Google, it appears, is inclined to make the data available free to content providers so they can create content to fill those gaps. Ultimately, more opportunities for content providers... more choices for searchers... a more satisfactory searching experience.
"Google would provide information on topics or queries for everybody who performs search as opposed to [companies that] hire people to mill out videos for $20 per video," he said.
I suppose you could argue this both ways... content creators who'd noticed such gaps on their own before this information became freely available might get rewarded less for their initiative. But Google might be heading off a lot of mass produced junk by opening those areas up for competition.
There could be some potential benefits for ecommerce as well as content creation/advertising from a system like the one described in Google's patents. If you ran an ecommerce site, and looked up "leather widgets" in an "inadequate topics and queries" search engine, and found that there were a lot of searches for "green leather widget" without any pages that offered them. If you sold blue leather widgets and red leather widgets, would you consider adding green leather widgets to your site?
Similarly, if you were the only guy on the web smart enough to feature green leather widgets, you might be unhappy. I assume, though, that "inadequate" might mean that after visiting the one green leather widget store on the web, searchers kept on looking and didn't go back to the first one.
I've used search data to suggest product lines to clients, and they were very happy to have the information. I'm not thinking Google's attempting to put me out of business, though.
Ultimately, the whole Google-ized universe might get so reflexive that there are no new ideas out there... that everyone's found everything, and there are no new places to go. At that point, people might start turning off their computers and going for walks, and that might not be such a bad thing. ;)