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Google Awarded Broad Patent For Location-Based Advertising 54

Posted by kdawson
from the you-are-here-and-we-own-you dept.
Mashable has a report of a patent that just issued (6-1/2 years after filing) — apparently Google now has a lock on location-based advertising. It's not clear that the search company intends to assert the patent against any other companies (such as emerging rival Apple), but it's useful as leverage. Here is the patent. Update: 03/02 14:34 GMT by S : Reader butlerm noted that the incorrect patent was linked. It now points to the correct URL.
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Google Awarded Broad Patent For Location-Based Advertising

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  • by Akido37 (1473009) on Monday March 01, 2010 @11:55PM (#31326168)
    I hope Google sues anyone who uses location-based advertising. That way, only Google will broadcast my location to advertisers. Avoid Google's product, and BAM! Privacy.

    Seriously, though, Apple is already trying to stop app developers from using location information solely for advertising: http://developer.apple.com/iphone/news/archives/2010/february/#corelocation [apple.com]
    • by Redlazer (786403)
      Shit, he figured it out!

      Somebody shut down /. before knowledge spreads!

    • With Google seeming to buy up any ad company that's a threat to it... it seems like they'll be most of the online ad market eventually, with Microsoft being in the unusual position of 2nd.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ls671 (1122017)

      WTF, there is something I still don't get about this. Many low budget sites are already using geoIP to target you better. Have you ever been to a site where there is an add to a dating site showing gorgeous girls that always happen to live in your area ? ;-)

      I assume that with just a little bit more money, sites could cross-reference the geoIP data with a real advertiser databases and show real adds from merchants near you. Heck, I am sure a bunch of web advertising companies already use geoIP !

      Can anybody e

    • by hvm2hvm (1208954)
      It's not like the others won't do it or aren't doing it anyway without calling it location-based advertising. Or like if a company/government/anyone with incentive says it won't retain information about you, it really won't. You still need to not let anyone know your location if you really want your privacy.
    • I hope Google sues anyone who uses location-based advertising. That way, only Google will broadcast my location to advertisers. Avoid Google's product, and BAM! Privacy.

      Well, it appears that patent is still being examined in the European patent office (and it looks like it's already had a couple of rounds), so that approach ain't going to work, at least, in Europe.

    • by Rolgar (556636)

      Maybe instead of retinal scanning (ala Minority Report), advertisers will just have scanners positioned near their billboards that can detect people's cell phones, and computers will be able to triangulate the particular individual, then a camera placed near the billboard will be able to detect that certain individuals have looked in the direction of the billboard, and will calculate which ad matches most of the individuals looking at a certain moment. In the case of road side billboards, the bill board wil

  • This explains why Apple asked it's iPhone developers to stop using location based ads in their applications or at least be careful of how they use them.
  • by naz404 (1282810) on Tuesday March 02, 2010 @12:24AM (#31326332) Homepage
    What gives? Google applied for the patent in 2004, but I've been seeing IP Address-based geolocation-targeted ads since way before 2004. You'd be served different different ads depending on where you lived based on your IP address.

    How is this different?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geolocation_software [wikipedia.org]
    • Geoworks demonstrated this on the San Francisco local news back in 2000.

      Check out:
      http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G1-66096362.html [encyclopedia.com]
      http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G1-66915753.html [encyclopedia.com]
      http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1G1-66096362.html [highbeam.com]
    • by drew (2081)

      I worked for a company in 1999 that was already doing this for a while, before there really was much in the way of publicly available GeoIP data. The database they started with was built in the mid 90's by wardialing the major ISP's access numbers in different area codes, so when they started out they were targeting purely by area code. By the time that I worked for them, they had refined it down to zip code.

      Of course, that company was eventually bought by Double Click, which is now owned by Google, so if

  • So if I write code that says "if point selected on map is between a latitude of 40 and 42 and a longitude of between 130 and 131* then pop up Bob's Restaurant ad", I owe royalties?

    * I hope somebody with too much time on their hand doesn't tell me this is in the middle of a large ocean. Bob floats, okay? More specifically, Bob bobs.
       

    • by lwgordon (1757336)

      Well, not the middle of a large ocean, just east of North Korea in the Sea of Japan.

      Regards,
      Someone with too much time on their hands

      • Isn't that roughly where North Korea keeps firing their Taepodong missiles?

        Bob had better do more than just float and bob...

  • I think Nokia is hit worst with this patent. I've seen them run tests on this kind of system on shopping malls, and releasing the navigation for free was probably part of the plan to start offering location based advertisement and other services on top of it. Google likely won't be very interested at licensing it either since advertising is their main business.
  • Very obvious thought as well as implementation.

    Been done time and time again over the years in just about every technical platform.

    Go away Google, this is plain patent abuse by the rich.

    • by ScrumHalf (911476)
      They haven't abused it yet, they've only just received it. Perhaps they sought the patent to prevent other companies from obtaining it and pursuing frivolous lawsuits.
      • .."not yet" being operative word.

        So I implemented first mobile POI & friend-to-friend app on WAP handsets in 2000.. and now in 2010 on re-entry to market with GPS enabled iPhone if I want to host ads on top based on location (duh, obvious) I am open to legal threat by Google for even touching this entire concept?

        Regardless of intent/preventative aspects its still just a granted land-grab, here I claim all this land west of the river thing..

        I can't count the number of times this whole "get ads while you

    • by jo42 (227475)

      Frak me. We had this idea back in 2000 to do advertising directed by location of the customer. Back then the mobile technology didn't exist and would require people to enter in their address to be converted into longitude/latitude. Too bad we didn't document it and patent it back then. Frak me again.

  • It is time for a coordinated world-wide BOFH system shutdown in order to FORCE a review of IP laws and how they relate to technology.

    How many billions (trillions?) of dollars have been wasted on lawyers and swapped between major industry players in the last 30 years over IP bitch-fighting !?

    Not to mention that while the big guns are duking it out, the little guy (even the not-so-little guy) is absolutely screwed along with any form of innovation.

    #$%^ all of these uber-corporations. Its seriously time to se

  • Three attempts out of five to view the mentioned patent, I ended up at "Method and system for approving documents based on image similarity", and the other two I ended up at other Google patents that have nothing to do with TFA. Perhaps it would be more reliable in the face of a slashdotting to Google Google's patents on Google Patents [google.com].
  • Isn't a billboard an example of "location-based advertising"?

    • by kmoser (1469707)
      My thoughts exactly. Every time I pass a certain billboard, it seems to "know" I'm there and always shows me the same message. And it's not even one of those newfangled computer screen billboards.
  • The problem with the current patent system is that Google needs a war chest full of patents to survive. When Microsoft goes on a rampage like they do now, demanding anyone using linux to pay Microsoft its essential.

    Having a patents like this makes Google less of a target.

    The system is utterly broken but i dont blame the companies playing the game, i blame the stupid politicians who allow this.

  • Wrong patent (Score:3, Informative)

    by butlerm (3112) on Tuesday March 02, 2010 @02:47AM (#31327120)

    The link both in the original post and in the cited article (to say nothing of dozens of other articles) cites the wrong patent.

    The correct one is patent application 20050050027 [arnoldit.com], but the patent number seems to be harder to track down. In fact I am not sure it has been granted at all.

    The incorrectly linked patent [uspto.gov] is about remote ad selection for broadcast radio stations, which is not particularly relevant here.

    • Re:Wrong patent (Score:5, Informative)

      by butlerm (3112) on Tuesday March 02, 2010 @03:21AM (#31327194)

      After a little more checking: The correct patent is patent 7,668,832 granted Feb 23, 2010 as listed here [uspto.gov]

      Note to web log authors: You can't use just any old URL. Some URLs have content that changes over time. The PTO web site may return a different patent every day if you don't actually query (and thus generate a URL based on) patent number.

  • Unfortunately the site's only now to be found on archive.org, but tradepiper.co.uk was all about giving location-specific adverts from both local and national businesses, and this was back in 2001 kinda time. Looks like what the patent talks about matches pretty closely to most of the stuff we were doing back then.
  • The correct patent is patent 7,668,832 granted Feb 23, 2010 as listed http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO2&Sect2=HITOFF&p=1&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsearch-adv.htm&r=1&f=G&l=50&d=PTXT&S1=7668832.PN.&OS=pn/7668832&RS=PN/7668832 [uspto.gov] Thanks ButlerM

    Location based advertising - Isnt that called billboards?

    Or store signs or product displays?

    To say you want to claim the right that at X and Y coordinates you control the method of putting up product advertising with

    • Location based advertising - Isnt that called billboards?

      Or store signs or product displays?

      To say you want to claim the right that at X and Y coordinates you control the method of putting up product advertising with *gasp* price information is all silly - they are called signs. Stores use them all the time.

      You linked to the correct patent, but apparently completely failed to read it. The patent is what's in the claims, not the title, abstract, or the title of this Slashdot article.

  • idea was that a device could be carried over which a third party could submit information that upon you reaching or researching locations would become aware of that information. essentially a digital billboard. near a movie theater? here: watch previews of the shows and times. near the packie? here: our sale on cognac. near the bridge? here: the number of the Samaritans.

    what i did not know was that i only needed to write up the idea and patent it with Out a working physical prototype.

    for me, this idea is ob

    • idea was that a device could be carried over which a third party could submit information that upon you reaching or researching locations would become aware of that information. essentially a digital billboard. near a movie theater? here: watch previews of the shows and times. near the packie? here: our sale on cognac. near the bridge? here: the number of the Samaritans.

      what i did not know was that i only needed to write up the idea and patent it with Out a working physical prototype.

      Yeah, that's it... And I just thought of a time travel device. All I need to do is write it up without needing a physical prototype.

      I think it's probably a little closer to say that you had a vague idea, but still had the actual inventing to do.

  • Here are papers published in 2001 and 2003 describing location advertising in the open source mobilemaps search engine:

    http://www.directionsmag.com/article.php?article_id=281 [directionsmag.com]
    http://www.directionsmag.com/article.php?article_id=369 [directionsmag.com]

    This still has a ghost site up on the net. One of the original authors is contactable at abrahaph at yahoo's .co.uk website.
    • The patent isn't "location-based advertising". It's not even "Determining and/or using location information in an ad system", which is at least the title of the patent. The patented invention is solely bounded by the claims, and I don't see anything your linked articles regarding determining geolocation price information of an ad.
      • Are you trying to tell me that a patent titled "Determining and/or using location information in an ad system" is unrelated to it's title? No wonder software patents have a bad name...

        Geolocation price information appears to be only a small component of the claims, and is IMO an obvious extension on the idea of location based keyword advertising, particularly as price auctions were already used at the time for regular keyword ads.

        So obvious, in fact that IIRC, it's in the source code of the advertisi
        • Are you trying to tell me that a patent titled "Determining and/or using location information in an ad system" is unrelated to it's title? No wonder software patents have a bad name...

          Yeah, just like "Assassins Creed" is related to the story, but not the rendering technology. The title is really just to at-a-glance distinguish one patent application from another. But you can have two perfectly acceptable titles for things that have nothing to do with each other... For instance, you could have a wooden decoy for hunting with a novel "dove-tail", and you could have a joint for cabinetry called a "dove-tail". You could have a rotary piston system called a "planetary engine", or you could ha

  • Patent was filed in 2003. But in 2002 (I think it was June but maybe if I check some old records I can narrow this down) I was watching TV and noticed an advertisement for a local business. I didn't think much about it at the time, but a few months later I travelled to another state, and exhausted after the drive, I watched some TV inside my far-from-home hotel room. I didn't see any advertisements for my home town businesses! I'll have to check my old VHS tapes to confirm this.

    In fact, I think I saw

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