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Methods and apparatus for delivering information of various types to a user

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Methods and apparatus for delivering information of various types to a user


Some embodiments relate to techniques for performing a search for content, in which a user may issue a search query, and the search engine or engines to which that query is provided may be determined dynamically based on any of a variety of factors. For example, in some embodiments, the search engine or engines to which the query is provided may be determined based on the content of the search query, and/or auxiliary information such as the user's location, demographics, query history and/or browsing history.
Related Terms: Graphics Search Engine Graph

USPTO Applicaton #: #20130019202 - Class: 715810 (USPTO) - 01/17/13 - Class 715 
Data Processing: Presentation Processing Of Document, Operator Interface Processing, And Screen Saver Display Processing > Operator Interface (e.g., Graphical User Interface) >On-screen Workspace Or Object >Menu Or Selectable Iconic Array (e.g., Palette)

Inventors: Marc W. Regan, Vladimir Sejnoha, Sean P. Brown

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The Patent Description & Claims data below is from USPTO Patent Application 20130019202, Methods and apparatus for delivering information of various types to a user.

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RELATED APPLICATION

This application is a continuation of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 13/182,512, entitled “Methods And Apparatus For Identifying And Providing Information Sought By A User,” filed Jul. 14, 2011, bearing Attorney Docket No. N0484.70993US00, which is incorporated herein by reference in its entirety.

BACKGROUND

1. Field of Invention

The techniques described herein are directed generally to the field of search queries on a computer network.

2. Description of the Related Art

The Internet is a global system of interconnected computer networks that provide access to a vast array of information. The World Wide Web (WWW) is an information sharing model built on top of the Internet, in which a system of interlinked hypertext documents are accessed using particular protocols (i.e., the Hypertext Transfer Protocol and its variants).

Because of the enormous volume of information available via the WWW and the Internet, and because the available information is distributed across an enormous number of independently owned and operated networks and servers, locating desired content on the WWW and the Internet presents challenges.

Search engines have been developed to aid users in locating desired content on the Internet. A search engine is a computer program that receives a search query from a user (e.g., in the form of a set of keywords) indicative of content desired by the user, and returns information and/or hyperlinks to information that the search engine determines to be relevant to the user\'s search query.

Search engines typically work by retrieving a large number of WWW web pages and/or other content using a computer program called a web crawler that browses the WWW in an automated fashion (e.g., following every hyperlink that it comes across in each web page that it browses). The retrieved web pages and/or content are analyzed and information about the web pages or content is stored in an index. When a user issues a search query to the search engine, the search engine uses the index to identify the web pages and/or content that it determines to best match the user\'s search query and returns a list of results with the best-matching web pages and/or content. Frequently, this list is in the form of one or more web pages that include a set of hyperlinks to the web pages and/or content determined to best match the user\'s query.

There are at least two general types of search engines accessible via the Internet: general-purpose search engines and site-specific search engines. As used herein, the term “general-purpose search engine” means a search engine that provides search results that include web pages and/or content (or hyperlinks to web pages and/or content) hosted on at least two different and independent web sites or domains. General purpose search engines attempt to index and provide search results from content distributed across a wide swath of the Internet. Examples of general purpose search engines include Google™, operated by Google, Inc. of Mountain View, Calif.; Yahoo!™, operated by Yahoo!, Inc. of Sunnyvale, Calif.; and Bing™, operated by Microsoft Corp. of Redmond, Wash.

As used herein, the term “site-specific search engine” means a search engine that provides search results that include web pages and/or content (or hyperlinks to web pages and/or content) hosted on only one web site or domain. Site-specific search engines are frequently used by operators of web sites to allow users to find specific web pages or content on their web sites. For example, the web site of an online retailer (or “e-tailer”) may include a site-specific search engine that facilitates a user locating web pages for products sold by the retailer.

SUMMARY

Some embodiments of the invention provide a method, performed by at least one computer, comprising acts of: (A) receiving a query comprising content; and (B) in response to receiving the query, identifying, based at least in part on the content of the query, at least one search engine to which a representation of the query is to be submitted.

Some embodiments of the invention provide a method, performed by a device, comprising acts of: (A) receiving a query from a user; and (B) causing to be displayed results generated based on the query by a plurality of search engines, the plurality of search engines for which results are displayed being determined dynamically in response to the query.

Other embodiments of the invention provide a method, performed by at least one computer, comprising acts of: (A) receiving a query comprising content; (B) in response to the query being received, determining that the content may have at least a first semantic meaning or a second semantic meaning that is different than the first semantic meaning; and (C) identifying a plurality of search engines to which to submit a representation of the query, the plurality of search engines comprising a first search engine identified based on the first semantic meaning and a second search engine identified based on the second semantic meaning.

Still other embodiments of the invention provide a method, performed by at least one computer, comprising acts of: (A) receiving a query; and (B) in response to the query being received, identifying at least one search engine to which to submit a representation of the query, the identifying being based at least in part on consideration received from an operator of the at least one search engine.

Yet other embodiments of the invention provide a method, performed by at least one computer, comprising acts of: (A) receiving a query; (B) in response to the query being received, identifying a plurality of search engines to which to submit a representation of the query; and (C) defining an order of presentation of the plurality of search engines, the defining being based at least in part on consideration received from an operator of at least one of the plurality of search engines.

Some other embodiments of the invention provide a method, performed by at least one computer, comprising acts of: (A) receiving a query from a device, the query comprising content; (B) determining based at least in part on the content of the query that an application is to be launched on the device; and (C) causing the device to launch the application using at least some information determined from the content of the query.

Still other embodiments of the invention provide a method, performed by a device comprising an application, comprising acts of: (A) receiving a free-form query from a user; (B) transferring a representation of the query to at least one computer; and (C) receiving from the at least one computer at least one instruction to launch an application on the device.

Yet other embodiments of the invention provide a method, performed by a device comprising first and second applications, comprising acts of: (A) receiving, from a user, a natural language input to the first application; (B) transferring a representation of the natural language input to at least one computer; (C) receiving from the at least one computer at least one instruction to launch the second application.

Some other embodiments of the invention provide a method, performed by at least one computer, comprising acts of: (A) receiving a query from a device and location data indicating a location of the device, the location data having a level of specificity; (B) in response to the query being received, identifying at least one first search engine to which to submit a representation of the query; (C) determining whether the level of specificity of the location data received in (A) is sufficient for the at least one first search engine; (D) if the level of specificity of the location data is sufficient, instructing the device to issue the representation of the query to the at least one first search engine; and (E) if the level of specificity of the location data is not sufficient, instructing the device to send, to the at least one computer, location data at a greater level of specificity.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS

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stats Patent Info
Application #
US 20130019202 A1
Publish Date
01/17/2013
Document #
13221332
File Date
08/30/2011
USPTO Class
715810
Other USPTO Classes
707706, 707E17108
International Class
/
Drawings
14


Graphics
Search Engine
Graph


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