Thursday, March 22, 2012

Dear Google you've patented my published idea...

Okay so a while ago I had an idea, that people should blog about ideas they had and tag them as 'prior art' as a way to defeat patents.  Well today I read an article about Google patenting a location specific ad service which takes in local information (the weather) to give people targeted adverts. Well back in 2008 I had an idea, where I talked about temporal information including the phrase:
The final piece in the puzzle is then time. "Here" Services would need to know not only where "here" is but they would also need to know when "here" is. I don't want to be told about a show that finished yesterday or about one that is six months away. If its 11pm tell me about the Kebab shop, if its 9am tell me where to get Asprin.
Now in this I also talk about ad-servers and some sort of federated deployment model so arguably Google's great big central implementation is 'sufficiently different' to mount as a patent but I don't think so. However you can find lots of elements out there about location specific campaign management so the only 'difference' is that Google are talking about taking into account some environmental information to direct the advert.  This is something that retailers already do... ever noticed how they have more adverts for BBQs if its going to be sunny and more adverts for brollys if its going to rain?

So what is Google's patent really?  Well its the combination of temporal based (time/location) advertising with environmental information.  Its incredible that this passes a threshold of being original and not being something that anyone with decent experience could do.

I've had other ideas at other times but not been arsed to implement them.  Feel free to be the person who actually takes on the challenge.  The real point of this post however is to make the point that yet another patent has been granted that shouldn't be.  Its not about privacy moaning its actually about business and economic growth.  

What Google are patenting is what a corner shop keeper has been doing for as long as there have been corner shops.  Looking at who is on the street, looking at the weather and then picking their window display.  Re-writing that and putting a 'e' infront of it shouldn't be the bar that has to be cleared to get a patent, patents should be for genuine ideas that move us forwards and where the creator should be rewarded not for being the first person to work for a company with enough money to file a patent on the obvious.

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