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IBM Issued Patent: "Distributed metadata searching system and method"



11:12 pm on Aug 15, 2002 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

This might be of interest to some of you.

Distributed metadata searching system and method
Patent Number: 6,434,548

A system and method of distributed metadata searching is disclosed. The present invention permits an extension of the searching and retrieval functions of existing Internet web search engines by utilizing computational resources embodied in user computer systems and search browsers. By distributing the searching and scanning functions to the user level, the present invention reduces the computational and communications burden on Internet web search engines and crawlers, resulting in lower computational resource utilization by Internet search engine providers. Given the exponential growth rate currently being experienced in the Internet community, the present invention provides one of the few methods by which complete searches of this vast distributed database may be performed. The present invention permits embodiments incorporating a Search Manger (1001) further comprising a Service Results Manager (1013), User Profile Database (1012), Service Manager(1013), and Service Database (1014); a Light Weight Application SCANNER (1002); and a Search Engine (1008). These components may be augmented in some preferred embodiments via the use of a Search Browser (1003), Internet Communications (1004); Web Site(s) (1005), Web Crawler(s) (1006), and a Repository Database (1007).

Full-Text at:
USPTO.gov [patft.uspto.gov]


5:05 pm on Aug 17, 2002 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator brett_tabke is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

Killer find Rubble. If I am reading the patent right, are they saying they have a patent on p2p search engines?


9:10 pm on Aug 17, 2002 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member


If so this could be stunning. Wow.

If that is right, there are a lot of P2P SE's under development (last I heard), how would that effect them?

Hmm, wasn't there a conversation here about the Googlebar and P2P SE capability or am I getting this muddled?


1:33 am on Aug 18, 2002 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

IMHO I think P2P search is the way technology has to go. Centralized search just isn't working well. Overloaded centralized search servers consume tremendous processing power and bandwidth while millions of distributed PC's sit idle.


4:44 pm on Aug 18, 2002 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member littleman is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

Wow, looks like this could be a legal first strike.


5:56 pm on Aug 18, 2002 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

My perception is that the Patent is on a new way to input data into the SE...Did I get that wrong?

"Adding more resources is generally the sole responsibility of the search engines owners.

The present invention seeks to reduce the time and resources spend by the search engine companies by placing some of the resource gathering tasks in the hand of the user's web browser.

The present invention would typically load a small program (e.g. Java applet) into the browser that would perform some specified resource gathering and summarization (lightweight task).

A user of the search engine would still perform all the steps they currently perform in activating a search, including: starting at the home page of the search engine; typing some keyword(s) and selecting "start search"; and viewing the results screen and selecting from the results.

The present invention could be loaded for as many URL's as the search engine owner decides. However, to the user of the search engine the present invention does not need to appear graphically and may operate as a background task.

With the present invention in place, a small program is loaded into the user's Internet browser and can be directed to perform several information gathering tasks such as: crawl a specified URL; inform the search engine if the site has updated since a particular date; and inform the search engine of any changes to web data since a particular date."


1:08 am on Aug 19, 2002 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Glad to share.

Here are a few other search related patents that were just awarded.

"Method for Effective Indexing of Partially Dynamic Documents" Awarded to AT&T on 8/13
Link to USPTO [patft.uspto.gov]

"Visualization of Internet Search Information" Awarded to the Univ. of Illinois on 8/13
Link to USPTO [patft.uspto.gov]

"System and Method for Indexing and Querying Audio Archives" Awarded to IBM on 8/13
Link to USPTO [patft.uspto.gov]

"System and Method for Focussed Web Crawling" Awarded to IBM on 7/9
Link to USPTO [patft.uspto.gov]


1:37 pm on Aug 19, 2002 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

If Indexing-spidering is brought to the user level, won't that open up security holes galore? Each user would try to ensure his/her pages are included and given top rank.

Scott Emick


12:10 pm on Aug 20, 2002 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

From my previous career, I have some experience negociating with IBM's licensing and patent dept. You wouldn't believe how many patents they have. As a PC manufacturer, you even have to pay IBM fees because your PC has a monitor interface, and they have patented that! For the 10 to 20 most important patents IBM has regarding computer manufacturing, each PC manufacturer ends up paying from 1 to 3% royalties to IBM. Many patents aren't commercially exploited, but still the licensing fees, royalties and other forms of income and agreements are huge.

From what I can read here, they have set their minds on something big, and you can be sure they studied carefully the commercial viability of this one. It gives you an idea where this industry is heading in the next years.

I think it's going to be a big hit, and bring IBM substantial money and negociating power in the next 5 years...


7:35 pm on Aug 20, 2002 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Sounds like Hotbar's search features. In addition to adding useless graphical "skins" to IE, it had a search engine that was fed by users.

jeremy goodrich

3:26 pm on Aug 21, 2002 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member jeremy_goodrich is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

It seems like the key to this IBM patent is the fact that it is extending the ability of a search engine through P2P style tech instead of basing an engine entirely on P2P, which is what makes the most sense, because to be commercially viable, in the end there will be a central repository of the data for the engine.

Multi agent systems (like this one) are the next big thing in search imho, because it pushes not only the meanial tasks (eg, fetching documents, storing them in a DB) but the slightly higher order tasks, such as coordinating the whole thing, onto a group of well programmed and fuzzy :) bots.

What I wonder is how powerful, compared to what we have now, would be the engine that actually made good use of such a system, the combination of Google and for example, Napster. It would be pretty incredible to see that, because the participation in Napster and similar services was tremendous, because people got a lot out of it.

If that same participation was engaged in building an incredible SE, it would have to profile people to serve the *most accurate* results, because in most research I've come across, different users will want different things when searching for the same two word phrase.

Mind boggling stuff...something this powerful might actually be able to approach cognition of sentence particples...that would be very interesting / maybe even do syntactic analysis, instead of just basic thematic analysis like some engines do now.