back to article Yahoo! 'owns several patents' on Google Instant

Yahoo! owns several patents covering Google's new Instant search engine, according to Shashi Seth, Yahoo!'s senior vice president of search and a former search product leader at Google. In 2005, Yahoo! rolled out a service remarkably similar to Google Instant at a site called AlltheWeb, a small search engine it had purchased a …


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  1. DZ-Jay

    Re: Title Shmitle

    >> "Shashi Seth [...] went on to argue that Google has opted for the bombard-you-with-search-results method solely because it will generate more revenue."


    1. Dan 55 Silver badge
      Thumb Down

      Shmitle Title

      It's not as if most users will be concentrating on the results, they'll be looking at the keyboard or the text box.

      Have Google factored in the consequent loss in value per impression? Doubt it.

      Will advertisers take note and go elsewhere? We can but hope.

    2. Tidosho Bronze badge

      Google too big for its pants

      I seriously don't like the way Google are going. The modifications they're making to their web and image search are tacky, and take up too many resources. My CPU fan on my notebook (A 1.86GHz C2D with 1GB RAM) kicks right up to full and Firefox slows right down, until I close the tab down.

      Trying to show pages and pages of results on one virtual sheet of paper is a no-no. Rather like Google's pie-in-the-sky idea that everyone will be using cloud computing within 3-4 years. Trusting your data to other people's hard drives and servers, with all the hacking, Internet banking fraud and stuff going on? Sorry, I'm keeping my data close to me, on my HDD. I know it's safe, as I'm a qualified IT engineer and have my security set up as it should be.

      Off back to Yahoo..... Bye bye, Google! Yet again another company (like Tesco) that are trying to get too many fingers in too many pies, not knowing what they're doing. Are we going to see Google Car Insurance anytime soon? I sure hope to hell we're not.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    We had clients requesting this kind of functionality in 2001... should they have applied for patents?

    1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge


      but if you actually developed the functionality, then I'm pretty sure that this would count as prior art and invalidate the patent.

      IANAL, etc.

  3. mark l 2 Silver badge


    I remember i used to use quite a lot before Yahoo bought it and it just became another yahoo portal. Used to have ftp and mp3 specific searches you could use. At the time they were claiming they indexed more pages that any other search engine

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    so ....

    Will someone please explain why "streaming search" is actually any good in the first place? I suspect Yahoo didn't bother developing it further because they didn't see any point in it.

    It's more like google flexing its nerdy muscles to show of the raw processing power that it commands. It seems to me like a technological acheivement worth a some mention but of little use or benefit to the end user.

    It's quite an increase in the number of searches per search, from 1 search per key phrase to 1 for each letter in the key phrase.

    Thats some jump in processing requirements for what benefit?.So much for going green, flex flex flex...feel the burn...

    1. SirWally

      Streaming search is good for users because...

      I have nothing. It seems like a useless "feature" that simply wastes bandwidth and energy. Why someone even though this was a good idea is beyond me. But seeing as there are multiple companies that have developed this I guess there must be something to it, other than simply more ad impressions. No, there probably isn't anything more to it than that...

  5. asdf

    and so it begins

    Of course Google is doing something so obnoxious and so unwanted by their customers solely in the name of $$$ (kind of like BT did with Phorm). Google has done a good job getting people to love their freebies and gotten their hooks in deep. Now they that are largely a defacto monopoly they can start to be evil (or monetize their opportunities as Larry E would say) to keep the revenue increasing by doing little on their part. Expect more unwanted crap to come until like M$ they lose focus on their customers entirely.

    1. DZ-Jay

      Re: and so it begins

      Google's customers are advertisers, just like Microsoft's customers are OEM and vendors. The end-user was never viewed as the customer by either of them.


  6. Anonymous Coward

    yahoo just shot themselves in the foot

    Yahoos system and patents dont cover an application which shows the user a whole page of results as they type - as they said themselves, 'who would want that?'. google instant does show a whole page of results as you type therefore is not covered in their patent mechanisms.

    can we get rid of this silly world of patenting obvious or trivial ideas?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      No we can't

      Because I have the patent on stupid, idiotic behaviour and I'm making a large fortune out of licensing fees.

  7. meehawl

    Instant Search - 1970s Tech

    Oh come on, the original EMACS had instant search results back in the 1970s. It's been a feature of document engines since the 1980s. Any patent for it is surely not valid any more.

  8. Anonymous Coward

    Seth is right

    My Search Engine of habit isn't GOOG - I use it once a month, maybe. But I tried Instant, just to see what it was all about. I disabled it right away. Seth gave the description, "the version of the service Google ultimately rolled out is far too busy and distracting." I agree: annoying, at best. Crash and burn.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Seth is still right.

    I tried it, actually, I didn't, it just happened. I changed my bookmark to point to search.

  10. JaitcH

    Yahoo! owns "about five...broad" patents

    Maybe too broad to sustain challenges.

    I should have filed a patent for putting an electrical contact under keyboard keys.

    1. Keith 21


      Maybe you should file a patent for blah blah blah?

      Tell you what, instead of posturing on here, why don't you have the courage of your convictions and do just that - file your patent application. Then if you get it granted, go after those who infringe it.

      After all, if the process really is as simple and stupid as you pretend, you'll have no problem and this time next year you'll be a millionaire.

      So go on, file that applications.

      Let us know how it works out for you.

  11. gimbal

    Hey it keeps the lawyers in business...

    ...and uselessly entangles companies, requiring them to spend substantial legal resources, in this bent-up patent system as it's been let to develop, to this day.

    So who will be the first congressperson to put a plank of patent reform into his/her platform?

  12. Tom 13

    So it sounds like Google and Yahoo are swapping boffins,

    much the way Marvel and DC swapped writers and artists around the time I was collecting comics.

  13. John 62

    yahoo's stuff:

    sounds like suggestions while you type, which Google and Ask and others have had for a while. Instant is showing the whole search result set instead of single suggestions

  14. LPF

    So what if they own it ?

    Google can just turn it off in an instant no problem!

  15. MacGyver

    I am so sick of all this patent crap.

    Apple is the worst, but they all do it. It does not advance anything, it stifles improvement, and makes it impossible for a "little guy" to ever create or build something, unless he/she has an army of lawyers on hand, and the money in the bank to fight for it.

    I remember a while back when creative said they owned a patent for "an electronic device that used menus to select and play music", and so they proceeded to sue everyone. That is absurd, of course you are going to use "menus" to select music, what else would you use, different lengths of sticks shoved into various holes?

    Sadly I do not ever see an end to the patenting of blatantly obvious systems and the obvious logical progression of a device, do to the fact that these global monopolies have more than enough money to get whatever laws they want passed in whatever country they want.

  16. Bill Slawski

    2004 Google Patent includes Instant Search Results

    A Google patent application filed in June, 2004, Anticipated query generation and processing in a search engine (United States Patent Application 20050283468) describes the type of predictive query suggestions that show up under the search box at Google and states that Google may also update search results as a searcher types instead of waiting for a searcher to hit the search button or their keyboard's enter button.

    I've seen a few Yahoo patent filings that may be amongst the ones that you refer to, and the one that seems closest to what Shashi Seth describes as something Yahoo might be working upon wasn't filed until 2005 (and was granted in March, 2010). The Google "Anticipated query generation" patent filing is mentioned in correspondence between the USPTO and Yahoo during the examination process for that Yahoo patent.

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