September 24, 2014

The latest invention with Google will come as a surprise to many. Now the programs that you watch on TV might affect your search results on Google. Recently, on the 16th of September, Google has been granted a patent, which was filed three years ago, to make use of the TV programs that the user watches as a signal for the ranking of websites. This complex patent has also been given a lengthy official name – ‘System and method for enhancing user search results by determining a television program currently being displayed in proximity to an electronic device’. Previously, Google had been using hundreds of logics in its algorithms to provide rankings to the search results but this one is quite novel and unique.

Here is an outline of the patent filed by Google:

“A computer implemented method for using search queries related to television programs. A server receives a user’s search query from an electronic device. The server then determines, in accordance with the search query and television program related information for television programs available at a location associated with the electronic device during a specific time window, a television program currently being displayed in proximity to the electronic device, wherein the television program related information includes program descriptions for a plurality of television programs being broadcast for the associated location.”

Therefore, what you watch on TV will be observed by Google to offer you the most relevant search results. It is not clear yet whether they will be using a set top box, a satellite or an internet aided device to accomplish this. To cite as an example, let’s say that you are watching a TV program on Porsche and at the same time you searched Google for ‘Cars.’ The search engine will assess that you like the program or the car model being shown on TV and thus Google may show up the website of Porsche and the model that you are viewing or relevant information about the particular show that you are watching. This way, live TV viewers can get enhanced search results that are relevant to the content of the program being aired or the ones that users are likely to be interested in watching.

As Google owns various entities, like YouTube and Chromecast, that stream live TV programs, it is quite understandable that it will have access to all its related information. However, the way Google will acquire information from other sources will be quite interesting to know.