PersonalizedScore patent causes consternation

Over at Search Engine Watch forums, there’s a very interesting thread going on. Loren Baker of Search Engine Journal posted about a new Google patent application titled “Personalization of placed content ordering in search results” which details how to serve organic search results based on user profiles. Similar to the patent for behavioral targeting for ads, this patent nevertheless seems to be a first for Google in trying to integrate the user profiles into their natural search.

Google gets the user information from a variety of sources such as Google Desktop (now out of beta), Gmail and of course, their infamous eternal cookie. This is sure to raise privacy concerns, as Chris D points out, referencing DoubleClick in 1999 (and linking to Slashdot.)

However, before anyone starts claiming that the sky is falling, note that sections [0111] – [0114] clearly mark the ‘placed content’ as being advertising, e-mail opt-ins, etc. The definition of the patent also only applies to ‘placed content’.

Susan Esparza is former managing editor at Bruce Clay, Inc., and has written extensively for clients and internal publications. Along with Bruce Clay, she is co-author of the first edition of Search Engine Optimization All-in-One Desk Reference For Dummies.
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