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Google Patents Privacy Your Rights Online

Google: Best Adaptation of a Novel To a Patent? 42

Posted by Soulskill
from the they'd-like-to-thank-the-academy dept.
theodp writes "The USPTO's Thursday publication of Google's patent application for Inferring User Interests was nicely-timed, coinciding with what ZDNet called Google's privacy policy doomsday. The inventors include Google Sr. Staff Research Scientist Shumeet Baluja, the author of The Silicon Jungle, a cautionary tale of data mining's promise and peril, which Google's Vint Cerf found 'credible and scary.' No doubt some will feel the same about Beluja's patent filing, which lays out plans for mining 'user generated content, such as user interests, user blogs, postings by the user on her or other users' profiles (e.g., comments in a commentary section of a web page), a user's selection of hosted audio, images, and other files, and demographic information about the user, such as age, gender, address, etc.'"
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Google: Best Adaptation of a Novel To a Patent?

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  • by PCM2 (4486) on Friday March 02, 2012 @09:34AM (#39219989) Homepage

    Worst. Submission. Ever.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Rennt (582550)
      I'm pretty sure it was written by chatterbot trained on previous slashdot submissions.
    • by cultiv8 (1660093)
      Well Shumeet Baluja (halleluja?) got some good publicity out of this...
    • by Wovel (964431)

      Please, it does not even hav n inexplicable Apple tag yet.

    • by b4dc0d3r (1268512) on Friday March 02, 2012 @03:04PM (#39224075)

      I was going to mod you up, then felt the need to explain why instead.

      Shumeet Baluja is the author of a forthcoming book. The patent was filed November 7, 2011, presumably having been worked on for a while. The book was published in 2011, apparently mid-year but I didn't find a definite date. Baluja is not an author, but a CompSci PHD who wrote a book. And is employed by the patent owner, Google. Previously, he worked in data mining.

      The novel was not adapted to a patent - both were the obvious result of Baluja's research and interests. The author is one of the inventors. It's the same thing in two forms. This is no different from "The Soul of a New Machine" which, although non-fiction, nonetheless surely had some parts over-dramatized. Take something you are working on, add fictional characters, and show how it can be used (or abused).

      In other words, a fictionalized memoir. Ergo, Worst. Submission. Ever. Not news, barely qualifies as trivia.

  • So, according TFS, Google has applied for a patent on .. wait ..
    Organizing contacts by applying scores to certain properties .. but now with a computer!
    Amazing that patents on processes and algorithms are still taken into consideration.

    • So how many hundreds of junk panents have Apple and Microsoft filed? And how many bogus lawsuits have those companies filed against Android device makers? Or other Google interests? And how many scox-scam like lawsuits has Microsoft filed by proxie?

      God forbid Google do anything to protect itself from those hyper-aggressive lawsuit scam companies. Google being evil evil EVIL!!!

  • At some point, such a mechanical transformation to create such derived works will no longer be creative, and as such, copyright will continue to vest solely in the original users. So remember kiddies, register your copyrights in bulk to be eligible for your $150,000 per infraction payday.

    Maybe for once we can use the legal system to route around damage.

  • So how long to someone makes a browser plugin that searches google for thousands of random words, thus making google's data mining worthless?

  • by Bucc5062 (856482) <bucc5062@@@gmail...com> on Friday March 02, 2012 @09:59AM (#39220145)

    So I got Google following me around as I shop, making notes that I looked at horse blankets, I bought horse supplements, I researched electronic white boards, I read various political blog sites, and they know I'm a Libra...much of that public knowledge anyway and not much different then if someone physically followed me around and noted all the stores and building I went into. Computers make it easier, but not much different in concept.

    For Google to keep their "Do No Evil" motto intact would be to establish all this information as (1) and opt in format so that no one but Google and myself sees this data (2) that all the data they collect is made available to me and I can be selective in what I allow shown to the public and (3) when I do opt in I can then be assured that only information I deem acceptable is presented to advertizes and whomever else pays for data like this. Otherwise they have completed their decent into the darkness.

    I also always remember that what ever I do on a network is never private. That if I want privacy, I talk face to face, I write a physical letter, or I keep to myself my actions. Never trust the internet with privacy, nor Google potentially.

    • by Peristaltic (650487) * on Friday March 02, 2012 @10:07AM (#39220209)
      Look- you need to ditch the concept that Google adheres to "Do No Evil". That train left the station a while back- They are just another corporation looking towards the next quarterly earnings report and beholden to their investors. Period. They will do what they can get away with, and when they can't get away with it, they'll apologize for their "mistake".
      • from hyper-aggressive patent trolls like Apple and Microsoft.

        Anybody care to compare the number of offensive lawsuits launched by Apple, and compare that to the number of offensive lawsuits launched by Googe?

        How about comparing junk patents filed?

        Google is being evil evil EVIL!!!

        • Anybody care to compare the number of offensive lawsuits launched by Apple, and compare that to the number of offensive lawsuits launched by Googe?

          How about comparing junk patents filed?

          I was not trying to make a point that Google is actually evil. I was not comparing Google to any other corporation. What I was saying is that the mantra that everyone keeps referring to when talking about Google ("Do No Evil"), is meaningless. As I said above: They are just another corporation looking towards the next quarterly earnings report and beholden to their investors. Period. Pretty much like any other corporation.... i.e. there's nothing special about Google and I would bet that "Do No Evil" is

          • by swillden (191260)

            What I was saying is that the mantra that everyone keeps referring to when talking about Google ("Do No Evil"), is meaningless.

            Technically, it's "Don't Be Evil."

            They are just another corporation looking towards the next quarterly earnings report and beholden to their investors. Period.

            Actually, Google is quite different in a couple of ways. One huge one is that the company is really not very beholden to its investors. Larry Page and Sergey Brin, between them, have more votes than all of the rest of the shareholders combined. During the IPO they gave their stock 10 votes per share, and the common stock only one vote per share. Given that both of them have more money than anyone could spend, I think that really reduces the focus on stock price.

            Anothe

    • by Qzukk (229616)

      I also always remember that what ever I do on a network is never private. That if I want privacy, I talk face to face, I write a physical letter, or I keep to myself my actions. Never trust the internet with privacy, nor Google potentially.

      I keep that in mind too, knowing that even if I ditched chrome, google would still know what I was doing through their ad networks.

      Still, it's a bit disconcerting to log into gmail and get a helpful notice that it can import all my email from foo@someotheraccount for me.

    • by swillden (191260)

      and opt in format so that no one but Google and myself sees this data

      Per their privacy policy, Google does not share your data with anyone else without your permission, with two exceptions:

      1. Google will comply with the law. For example, if Google is served with a search warrant for your data, they'll hand it over.

      2. For "external processing". What the privacy policy says is "We provide personal information to our affiliates or other trusted businesses or persons to process it for us, based on our instructions and in compliance with our Privacy Policy and any other a

    • 1) Whether it is opt-in or opt-out, no one but you and Google algorithms ever see the data.
      2) All the data they collect *is* available to you to review. Just check your Google dashboard.
      3) No matter what you agree to, none of your information is ever given to third parties. Google matches the advertisements to your information internally.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Heinlein provided prior art for the waterbed.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Waterbed
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_A._Heinlein

  • Does Slashdot ever get tired of BS Google smears?

    Now I guess it's time for "anonomous" with 20 different logins to start screaming about Google being evil evil EVIL!!!

  • "postings by the user on her or other users' profiles" Was this an implication that more women are Google+ users than men?
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      No, the female pronoun is frequently the default when the author is giving an example and is too lazy to say "he/she" or some permutation thereof. This replaces the former ubiquitous use of male pronouns amongst the sort of people who are committed to appearing as progressive as possible, and should be read as "trying too hard to impress feminists."
    • Nope.

      But I think you knew that already.
  • Google's the first? Really? I thought that everyone was doing this already, if not automated.

  • by Shotgun (30919) on Friday March 02, 2012 @01:51PM (#39222929)

    Those little discount cards you get at the grocery stores. How is this any different? Well...other than the fact that you can't pick up porn at the grocery stores where I live.

  • So this "Beluja" scrapes websites for information about users, and this is a patentable idea?

    Given that screen scraping has been pretty much a standard technology since the '80s and '90s when IBM green screen applications were scraped and repackaged as windowed interfaces, and the number of industries which employ scraping of websites for sales leads and other information, I can't imagine WHAT these bozos think they've "created" or "invented" that justifies a patent.

    But then again, this IS slashdot, wh

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