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Domain Name Wire

  • Google Files Patent for Unified Address Bar/Search Box

    1. BY - Jan 06, 2009
    2. Domain Services
    3. 15 Comments

    Company files patent for allowing searches to be conducted in the address bar.

    Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) has filed for a patent to allow users to enter either search terms and domain names into a search box (such as an address bar), and having the computer figure out if the search term was meant to be a specific domain name or web site.

    Patent application 20090006389 was filed last year and just published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office this month. The abstract reads:

    Methods and systems allow users to enter natural language terms that describe a particular web site into an address field of a browser instead of a formal URL. The terms are evaluated to determine whether they correspond, with a high likelihood, to a particular web site. If so, this web site may be immediately accessed. If not, a list of search results based on the terms may be displayed by the browser.

    For example, if a user types “lands end” into a search box or the browser bar, the computer could decide that the user meant to visit landsend.com and send them directly there as opposed to delivering search results related to “lands end”.

    This type of unified address bar/search box can be found in Google Chrome, the web browser the company launched last year. The patent filing is a continuation of earlier patents for “highlighted confident results” from searches.

    It’s unclear if this technology has an impact on direct navigation. If users become used to typing search queries into the address bar, it could boost direct navigation. However, some web browsers append .com to terms typed into the address box. For example, typing baseball would bring you to baseball.com. With search functionality enabled the browser may instead offer search listings.

15 Comments
  • Considering the amount of people that add the TLD to their search term, this could be a good thing really for domain owners, but that just wouldn’t really make all that much sense for Google as they would loose visitors if I am seeing this correctly.

    It’s one of those, wait and see things I guess.

  • Could be good for direct navigation.

    Could be good for developed sites that are #1 search result for that term.

    Will dashes matter?

    Could be a typo and TM squatter killer.

  • GetGoogleChrome says:

    January 7, 2009 at 4:48 am

    Might become the doom of SEO since being in page one of a search result would be worthless, only spot 1 would be valuable.

  • Could this be the start of paying for “Page Rank” No more SEO? Pay to be in top 10 searchresults?

    To much perfection can backfire just like if you over SEO a Webpage.

    Searchengine users could feel to much big brother and turn there backs on google.

    I see nothing positiv in this deal.

  • @Andrew,

    Are you sure that “Lands End” could essentially cause a direct navigation? My experience with chrome is that this only happens if someone types “landsend.com” or any other valid url into the bar.

    As you know I like this bar. Most of my customers can’t figure out how to use the internet and just type in actual domain names into the search box. Don’t forget ovt w/ ext scores, this is where they come from.

  • @ JP – Lands End was a specific example in their patent. I just tried it in Firefox with the Google Toolbar installed (but typed it in the address box) and it went to LandsEnd.com

  • @Andrew

    Interesting, I just pulled up Chrome version 1.0.154.43 and typed in Lands End (with and without quotes) and it went to search results rather than direct navigation.

    I also tried Lands End.com and Lands End com, all search results. I think it is either firefox or that google toolbar may be different. I’ll investigate later on, just got back to work and I’m trying to motivate.

  • @ jp – could also be because I’ve visited LandsEnd.com through my browser before? Maybe it bases it on your historical usage too.

  • [...] to this new report, Google is encouraging junk patents by getting some of its own: Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) has filed [...]

  • Note that Mozilla SeaMonkey have unified address bar / search box since last century. But I guess the patent is just for a smartness, right?

  • Uh sorry, apparently not as far as “last century”. Mozilla SeaMonkey start branching out of Mozilla at around 2005.

  • I’ve never given this a try, but I think it’s about time I do.

  • [...] you’ll see that we may be headed for a combined address and search box. In fact, Google has filed for a patent to combine the two boxes.  If you use Firefox as your browser of choice, you will see that typing [...]

  • [...] seems that Google has already patented that functionality, and I am not sure how I feel about [...]

  • You actually make it seem so easy with your presentation but I find this topic to be really something which I think I would never understand. It seems too complex and extremely broad for me. I am looking forward for your next post, I’ll try to get the hang of it!

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