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Google patents the concept of snippets

Google (opens in new tab)has been granted a patent over the concept of snippets. The patent application was filed backed in March 2004 and the abstract reads as follows:

"Methods and systems for generating textual information are disclosed. In one exemplary embodiment, a method of generating textual information is disclosed that comprises identifying a plurality of candidate summaries related to textual information based at least in part on a document, determining first and second attribute values based at least in part on the candidate summaries, and determining an optimal candidate summary based at least in part on the first and second attribute values."

Google essentially displays snippets of text when someone looks for a string or keywords on its search engine. A snippet provides with context or relevance when a search is done.

It allows the user to determine whether to click on links listed in the search result or not.Google can also be expected to use snippets in everything that is related to search; Google's answer to Wikipedia, Knol, being the first obvious application that this patent is going to have.

It also poses another more complex and controversial question with regards to copyright. Can a snippet be considered as original content and should it carry an attribution?

Désiré Athow
Contributor

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at ITProPortal.com where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.