We’ve been slightly slow on the uptake of this one – Susan Kuchinskas at InternetNews has picked up a US patent filing by Larry Page, co-founder of Google, and it makes interesting reading.
Google News is great for users – we’ve been a news source of theirs for a considerable amount of time and often use its search facilities for research. For Google it’s less great, as they’ve yet to find a way to make money out of it – thank goodness they took the automation path, by throwing tech at it, not people.
The patent, 20040122811, titled “Method for searching media” was originally filed in September 2003 and its core function is summarised by Susan,
to enable search of printed material, offer pay-per-view documents, scanned documents with clickable ads and even the ability for print publishers to swap out ads in digital copies of their printed pages.
There are two key elements of the patent: a method for executing a permission protocol so that the publisher could authorize Google to display more text from the relevant publication; and storing scanned versions of printed documents along with data sets representing the ads that went with them.
It’s not just online text that is covered. CDs, DVDs, audio books, hard copy magazines, newspapers and journals could all be included.
So how could Google make money from this? We find the most interesting idea the ability for them to act as the gateway to the content, charging a predetermined fee for access to the information that they would share with the publisher. Micropayment systems like BitPass and BT Click&Buy have been providing the charging mechanism to information publishers for a long time, and to a lesser degree, the ability to locate information you might be interested in. Google already own the search side, the additional income they could gain for collecting payments for content could be considerable.
Susan covers the innovative ways potential income from the advertising could be raised,
The patent claims a method for updating advertisement information for the printed documents. For example, it would allow the publisher of a hot news story to resell the ad space to a rotating series of advertisers or let advertisers keep the ad but update prices and product information. One of the claims, covers storing information about products in the ads. This might allow the advertiser to create a special landing page associated with the ad, working like a Web banner ad.