Google may be arranging a marriage between search and e-mail.
A Google patent application published on Thursday describes, “[a] universal distributed search system allows users to find and distribute search results (possibly including advertisements) to those with whom they communicate.”
Google describes this union of search and communication as “user distributed search” or UDS.
Google’s rationale for integrating search queries with e-mail communication is that copying and pasting links in messages doesn’t work well. As the patent application puts it,” This process for annotating user created content can be tedious, difficult to perform for average users, and often results in textual links in the final content that can be difficult to read.”
The patent application shows Google thinking of search in a broader context than it has in the past. Previously, the company has treated search as a way to find content. This patent application describes search queries themselves as content.
Content creators, the patent application explains, “may easily incorporate search results and/or advertisements into their content creation workflow. Incorporation of search results and/or advertisements in the manner described herein will be referred to as user distributed search (UDS).”
This marks a major strategic shift for Google: Having come to dominate Web search, Google appears to be looking to extend that power across other online channels like e-mail and instant messaging.
“In an increasingly networked world, users frequently use online sources to create and exchange information,” the patent application explains. “E-mail, instant messaging (IM), message boards, Web sites, and blogs are all existing communication technologies through which users can create and distribute content to other users. Frequently, in creating such content, a user may wish to reference other online information sources. For example, a user authoring an e-mail may use a browser to navigate to a Web page that the user would like to reference in the e-mail, copy the link (e.g., the uniform resource locator (URL)) from the browser to a ‘clipboard,’ and then paste the link from the clipboard into the email. In this manner, the user can create an e-mail message that contains links that are accessible by an eventual reader of the e-mail.”
Google, Patents, Google Patents, Search, Email