Google awarded patent for Google Instant/ Social Search

November 16, 2010: 4:03 PM ET

The USPTO today awarded Google a patent for what looks like Google Instant Search.

Google has been thinking about Instant for a while it seems.  United States Patent 7836044 covers Anticipated query generation and processing in a search engine and was filed in June of 2004.  It is described as:

A search system monitors the input of a search query by a user. Before the user finishes entering the search query, the search system identifies and sends a portion of the query as a partial query to the search engine. Based on the partial query, the search engine creates a set of predicted queries. This process may take into account prior queries submitted by a community of users, and may take into account a user profile. The predicted queries are be sent back to the user for possible selection. The search system may also cache search results corresponding to one or more of the predicted queries in anticipation of the user selecting one of the predicted queries. The search engine may also return at least a portion of the search results corresponding to one or more of the predicted queries.

Listed inventors are Kamvar, Sepandar D. (Palo Alto, CA, U.S.), Haveliwala, Taher H. (Mountain View, CA, U.S.) and Jeh, Glen M. (San Francisco, CA, U.S.).

Today, Google was granted the patent, meaning that Microsoft (MSFT), Yahoo (YHOO) and other search providers won't be able to provide the exact same type of search functionality as Google (GOOG), at least without licensing the technology from Google.  Most interesting is the inclusion of "prior queries submitted by a community of users, and may take into account a user profile."  That could certainly be applied to social search, like the collaboration that Facebook and Microsoft announced last month.

Full patent flowchart below. More

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