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Latest Google Patents of Interest – March 11, 2020

For this week's Google patent update, there's a theme developing between entity elements, knowledge cards, and even some aspects of no-click searching.

Welcome back to another week in our series on Google patent watch.

This week, we seemingly have a bit of a theme developing between entity elements, knowledge cards, and even some aspects of no-click searching.

I really liked all three of these and hope to dig in and write some more expanded analysis on them.

Either way, it’s certainly a good edition and I do encourage you to dig in more on your own as these are certainly fun…

Latest Google Patents of Interest

Structured entity information page

  • Filed: October 12, 2018
  • Awarded: March 10, 2020

Dave’s Notes

This one should be more than a bit obvious.

It’s about knowledge panels. The image below should make that clear.

There are some more pics with the patent award, so be sure to check the link for more.

Entities are classified into various topics such as movies, TV shows, books, businesses, etc.

As far as when they appear, they discuss past user activities and search history.

That’s interesting in that we’ve always assumed they appear the same for all of us.

Some testing on that end might be in order.


“(…) for presenting information of various information types about an entity in a structured information page, in which some of the information types included in the structured information page are dynamically selected for inclusion in the structured information page in accordance with historical user activity. Such methods and systems provide an effective way to present to users entity information that is organized and which includes information that users are more likely to consider important.”

“In some implementations, the entity is an instance of the entity class. For example, a movie entity is an instance of the movies entity class. In some implementations, the entity class is one of: movie, television show, book, and business. For example, the structured information page may be displayed for a movie, a TV show, a book, or a business (e.g., a restaurant, a bar, a service business, etc.).”

“In some implementations, the historical user activity includes search activity by users. The past user activity 120 may include, for example, search queries by users for the entity and/or the entity class.
In some implementations, the historical user activity includes user activity over a predefined time period. The past user activity 120 may include user activity over a particular time period. For example, the server 106 may consider past search queries by users over the past week, over the past month, or the like.”

Determining a set of steps responsive to a how-to query

  • Filed: March 2, 2017
  • Awarded: March 10, 2020

Dave’s Notes

This is another one that should be somewhat self-evident.

It gives some insight into how/when Google decides to outline a process to display in response to a “how-to” query.

The talk about identifying relevant steps to answer the query as well as confidence scores for the information displayed, culled from various sources.


“(…) providing step-by-step instructions for completing a task based on analysis of multiple sources. A how-to query related to performing a task and a plurality of sources related to the how-to query may be identified. A set of steps may be determined that may enable a user to perform the task.”

“The similarity measures are based on one or more of keyword matching, phrase matching, parse-tree matching, distributional similarity scores, and edit distance scores. In some implementations the method may further comprise: determining, for each step in each group of steps, a relevance score indicative of the confidence level of the step; and identifying the one or more steps from the group of steps based on the relevance scores.”

“The method may further comprise determining one or more of a skill level required to perform the task, time duration for performing the task, a list of tools needed to perform the task, and a list of materials needed to perform the task. In some implementations identifying the how-to query may include one or more of identifying task terms in the how-to query and identifying search results related to the how-to query.”

Entity-based searching with content selection

  • Filed: November 16, 2016
  • Awarded: March 3, 2020

Dave’s Notes

This is another related to entities again and looks at display elements such as we might see in a knowledge card for an entity.

This could be information on a given entity (such as the Taj Mahal) or in relation to a movie.

The search engine tries to establish if that information is consumable or actionable (transactional, etc).

As seems to be the theme this week, there’s certainly an element of the no-click searching and more.

Certainly worth reading more if you have a few moments.


“Search entities may generally correspond to named entities in the physical world. For example, a search entity may correspond to a specific location, person, group of people, media content (e.g., movies, songs, etc.), or the like. In such a case, a pool of facts or other information regarding the search entity may be made available as part of search results, in addition to, or in lieu of, links to webpages regarding the entity.”

“For example, a search query may correspond to a search entity for the Taj Mahal. Associated with the Taj Mahal search entity may be various facts about the mausoleum, such as its location, height, when it was constructed, or other such information. In some implementations, a search entity may be presented in conjunction with search results as part of a search result screen. For example, a search result webpage may include hyperlinks to webpages that match a search query as well as a search entity that corresponds to the search query (e.g., a search for the Taj Mahal may result in links to Taj Mahal-related webpages as well as the Taj Mahal search entity being displayed).”

“(…) the search entity may also be associated with various online actions (e.g., what the user may wish to do regarding the search entity). For example, assume that a search entity relates to a particular movie. In such a case, online actions that may be associated with the search entity may include purchasing a hardcopy of the movie (e.g., DVD, Blu-Ray, etc.) or watching the movie via streaming.”

Google Patent

And that’s it for this week… until next time, stay geeky out there.

More Resources:

Image Credits

Featured Image: Created by author, March 2020
In-Post Images: USPTO

David Harry Lead SEO Consultant at Verve Developments

David Harry is the lead SEO at Verve Developments and specializes in SEO audits and forensic analysis. He’s been in ...

Latest Google Patents of Interest – March 11, 2020

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