Google Won Two Patents Today — 7,031,961 & 7,031,954
It was just less than a week ago, that Google were granted a patent for voice interface for a search engine, and today they've awarded the patents for Document retrieval system with access control (Patent# 7,031,954) and System and method for searching and recommending objects from a categorically organized information repository (Patent# 7,031,961).
The patent, Document retrieval system with access control which was filed 9 years ago, has got me thinking about Writely, that somehow does go with reverts and rollbacks now, doesn't it? As for the second patent, System and method for searching and recommending objects from a categorically organized information repository, looks to me as though it could be a reference to a combination of Google's services like Orkut, Google Groups, Blogspot, GCal or even Personalized Search.
Ok, let's refine Patent# 7,031,961 a bit, given that the abstract mentions " The search and recommendation system operates in the context of a content pointer manager, which stores individual users' content pointers (some of which may be published or shared for group use) on a centralized content pointer database connected to the Internet". Maybe GCal, Google Groups, Blogspot? Which Google service or product can be published or have shared group access? Seems like there's a case in here Writely as well… this needs some thinking through though, we'll come back to that another time.
On to the abstract of the Document retrieval system with access control (which was filed in 2000), an interesting one at that too:
An electonic document retrieval system and method for a collection of information distributed over a network having documents stored in web or document servers in which an access control list relates user identification to documents to which a user has access. No access control lists are contained in the documents themselves nor are comparisons made between lists of users, with their access levels, and the classifications of documents. Rather, by the use of URLs or pointers, it is possible to associate every document to which a user has access with the user identification number or code. URLs have a hierchical format which allows partial URLs to indicate levels of access. HTTP protocol, FTP and CGI protocol employ URL calls for documents and can use the access control method and system of the present invention. When a search query is applied to a query server, a list of hits is returned, together with pertinent URLs. The query server consults each access control list associated with each document server, to present to the user only those URLs for which he has a proper access level. Other URLs for which the user does not have proper access are kept hidden from the user.
This definintely does sound like Writely to me! Apparently the inventor of this patent, James Pitkow, was the President and Chairman of Outride Inc., a spinout from the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center (PARC), which was acquired by Google.