|Publication number||USRE40683 E1|
|Application number||US 10/600,114|
|Publication date||Mar 24, 2009|
|Filing date||Jun 20, 2003|
|Priority date||May 11, 1999|
|Also published as||CA2373828A1, EP1221114A1, US6253198, WO2000068839A1|
|Publication number||10600114, 600114, US RE40683 E1, US RE40683E1, US-E1-RE40683, USRE40683 E1, USRE40683E1|
|Original Assignee||Search Mechanics, Inc.|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (37), Referenced by (4), Classifications (15), Legal Events (9)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
The present invention relates to the process of developing and maintaining the content of Internet search engine databases.
An internet (including, but not limited to, the Internet, intranets, extranets and similar networks), is a network of computers, with each computer being identified by a unique address. The addresses are logically subdivided into domains or domain names (e.g. ibm.com, pbs.org, and oranda.net) which allow a user to reference the various addresses. A web, (including, but not limited to, the World Wide Web (WWW)) is a group of these computers accessible to each other via common communication protocols, or languages, including but not limited to Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP). Resources on the computers in each domain are identified with unique addresses called Uniform Resource Locator (URL) addresses (e.g.http:// www.ibm.com/products/laptops.htm). A web site is any destination on a web. It can be an entire individual domain, multiple domains, or even a single URL.
Resources can be of many types. Resources with a “.htm” or.“html” URL suffix are text files, or pages, formatted in a specific manner called Hypertext Markup Language (HTML). HTML is a collection of tags used to mark blocks of text and assign meaning to them. A specialized computer application called a browser can decode the HTML files and display the information contained within. A hyperlink is a navigable reference in any resource to another resource on the internet.
An internet Search Engine is a web application consisting of
Agents are programs that can travel over the internet and access remote resources. The internet search engine uses agent programs called Spiders, Robots, or Worms, among other names, to inspect the text of resources on web sites. Navigable references to other web resources contained in a resource are called hyperlinks. The agents can follow these hyperlinks to other resources. The process of following hyperlinks to other resources, which are then indexed, and following the hyperlinks contained within the new resource, is called spidering.
The main purpose of an internet search engine is to provide users the ability to query the database of internet content to find content that is relevant to them. A user can visit the search engine web site with a browser and enter a query into a form (or page), including but not limited to an HTML form, provided for the task. The query may be in several different forms, but most common are words, phrases, or questions. The query data is sent to the search engine through a standard interface, including but not limited to the Common Gateway Interface (CGI). The CGI is a means of passing data between a client, a computer requesting data or processing and a program or script on a server, a computer providing data or processing. The combination of form and script is hereinafter referred to as a script application. The search engine will inspect its database for the URLs of resources most likely to relate to the submitted query. The list of URL results is returned to the user, with the format of the returned list varying from engine to engine. Usually it will consist of ten or more hyperlinks per search engine page, where each hyperlink is described and ranked for relevance by the search engine by means of various information such as the title, summary, language, and age of the resource. The returned hyperlinks are typically sorted by relevance, with the highest rated resources near the top of the list.
The World Wide Web consists of thousands of domains and millions of pages of information. The indexing and cataloging of content on an Internet search engine takes large amounts of processing power and time to perform. With millions of resources on the web, and some of the content on those resources changing rapidly (by the day, or even minute), a single search engine cannot possibly maintain a perfect database of all Internet content. Spiders and other agents are continually indexing and re-indexing WWW content, but a single World Wide Web site may be visited by an agent once, then not be visited again for months as the queue of sites the search engine must index grows. A site owner can speed up the process by manually requesting that resources on a site be re-indexed, but this process can get unwieldy for large web sites and is in fact, a guarantee of nothing.
Many current internet search engines support two methods of controlling the resource files that are added to their database. These are the robots.txt file, which is a site-wide, search engine specific control mechanism, and the ROBOTS META HTML tag which is resource file specific, but not search engine specific. Most internet search engines respect both methods, and will not index a file if robots.txt, ROBOTS META tag, or both informs the internet search engine to not index a resource. The use of robots.txt, the ROBOTS META tag and other methods of index control is advocated for the purposes of the present invention.
Commonly, when an internet search engine agent visits a web site for indexing, it first checks the existence of robots.txt at the top level of the site. If the search agent finds robots.txt, if analyses the contents of the file for records such as:
The above example would instruct all agents not to index any file in directories names /cgi-bin/SRC or /stats. Each search engine agent has its own agent name. For example, AltaVista (currently the largest Internet search engine) has an agent called Scooter. To allow only AltaVista access to directory lavstuff, the following robots.txt file would be used:
The ROBOTS META tag is found in the file itself. When the internet search engine agent indexes the file, it will look for a HTML tag like one of the following:
INDEX and NOINDEX indicate to all agents whether or not the file should be indexed by that agent. FOLLOW and NOFOLLOW indicate to all agents whether or not they should spider hyperlinks in this document.
For current internet search engines, the present invention process uses the CGI program(s) provided by the search engine in order to add, modify an remove files from the search engine index. However, the process can generally only remove a file from the search engine index if the file no longer exists or if the site owner (under the direction of the process) has configured the site, through the use of robots.txt, the ROBOTS META tag or other methods of index control, so that the search engine will remove the file from its index.
The duration of time between the first time a site is indexed and the next time that information is updated has led to several key problems:
The present invention provides a mechanism for search engine and web site managers to maintain as perfect a registration of web site content as is possible. By augmenting or replacing existing agents and manual registration methods with specialized tools on the local web site (and, when feasible, at the search engine), the current problems with search engine registration and integrity can be eliminated.
The present invention defeats the key problems with automated agents and manual registration and replaces them with an exception based, distributed processing system. Instead of making the search engine do all the work necessary to index a site, the web site owner is now responsible for that operation. By distributing the work, the search engine is improved in these ways:
The process is begun by distributing a set of search engine update software tools to the web site owner. These tools can be implemented in one of three ways. The first way is to implement the tools on the web server of the site owner. The software can run automatically, having direct access to all resources on the web site. The second way is to install the software tools on a surrogate server. This surrogate is a computer with proper permissions and access to the resources of the web site and automatically accesses those resources over the network. The third way is through the use of client-side tools. The software will run on each client's computer, check the client's web server via internet protocols, and relay the information on the web server to the search engine.
The software could be written in a variety of different programming languages and would be applicable for as many client and server computers as needed.
Upon initial execution, the software builds a database of the resources on the web site. The resources catalogued can be specified by the user, or automatically through spidering functions of the software. The database consists of one record per resource indexed on the site. Each record contains fields including:
Upon each subsequent execution the software tools inspect the current state of the web site against the content of the database. When altered, removed, or additional content is found, the software tools make the appropriate changes to the database and then notify the search engine of those changes (see
Through application of the present invention, the following improvements are made in search engine administration:
The main aspect of the present invention is to provide a method to index locally at a web site all changes to that site's resource content database which has occurred since the last search engine indexing.
Another aspect of the present invention is to actively transmit said changes to an internet search engine.
Another aspect of the present invention is to automatically transmit batches of updates (a list of content that has changed since the last search engine index), in a predetermined manner.
Other objects of this invention will appear from the following description and appended claims, reference being had to the accompanying drawings forming a part of this specification wherein like reference characters designate corresponding parts in the several views.
Before explaining the disclosed embodiment of the present invention in detail, it is to be understood that the invention is not limited in its application to the details of the particular arrangement shown, since the invention is capable of other embodiments. Also, the terminology used herein is for the purpose of description and not of limitation.
The present invention can be used on new Internet search engine systems, or existing systems can be adapted for use by existing search engines having the following characteristics:
In addition, if a search engine allows search results to be constrained to one particular site, that completes the functionality requirements of the present invention.
The technical effort required to apply the present invention to existing Internet search engines is similar to that required to apply the invention to a new search engine. The most complex instance would be to apply the invention to a range of search engines, some of which have been designed with the invention in mind, some of which have not. The aforementioned instance will be assumed here.
As implemented, the invention is a server-side process, running either on a surrogate server or the actual server upon which the web site is stored. The process is coded as a program in the Perl programming language, although other languages such as C++ or Java could be used. The process is invoked regularly by the operating system of the computer on which the program resides or manually by a web site manager.
As such, there are three main areas of the preferred embodiment that need to be understood. They are:
Installation of the software tools places a number of CGI scripts, database tables, and HTML forms on the server. Each element performs a specific function relevant to the process and is outlined below. Initially, there is a database Table of Search Engines, containing an entry for each Internet search engine. The table below illustrates the format of a typical search engine record.
The name of the search engine
Whether the search engine is to be
informed of changes to content
Database table of files indexed on this
site and for which changes must be
Whether to register a resource on this
search engine in the absence of explicit
information provided by the site
The maximum number of registrations
allowed per day by this search engine
Limit to site
Whether the search engine allows
searches to be restricted to one web
Whether the search engine will report
the date a resource was last indexed
Whether the search engine will report
the time a resource was last indexed
Typical delay between registration time
and indexing of a site by the search
Whether the search engine will allow a
particular file to be searched for
The user is provided with an HTML form and CGI script, hereinafter referred to as a CGI program, in order to configure the Enabled and Table of Files fields (see
The Table of Files is a field in the Table of Search Engines database. It is initially configured by the user through a CGI program (
The URL of the resource
Whether the resource needs to be
registered with this search engine
Whether the resource needs to be
unregistered (removed) from this search
Date and time the file was last registered
with the search engine
Whether the site manager wants the file to
be registered on this search engine. The
‘By default’ value indicates to follow the
value of the ‘Register by default’ field of
the search engine record of the database
The Table of Files is a list of the above records. The list is built by first obtaining the set of resources the user wishes to maintain and register with a search engine (
The list of pages built by the above process forms the Name fields of the Table of Files records for each search engine. This process can be performed globally (on all search engines in the table of search engines), on a group of search engines or on an individual search engine, as indicated by the user (
Submitting the above form also invokes a CGI script to set the Enabled and ‘Register by default’ fields of the appropriate search engine record according to the preferences of the user. Additionally, a page is provided where the title, URL and Meta Description of each page would be substituted in the appropriate place in the table for each search engine.
Submitting this additional information invokes a CGI script to set the Register field of the Table of Files field for the appropriate search engine record, according to preferences of the user.
IIV. The Process by Which the Database is Constructed and Updated
The process now looks up each file and determines whether the file is registered, current, out of date, or deleted with respect to its registration on the search engine.
There are eight possible states for the file to be in with respect to its registration. In order for the process to be deterministic, all random spidering activity by the search engine is ignored in determining the state of the file. The state is determined purely by the current registration and the data the process has stored in the database of activities performed by previous invocations of itself.
The resource no longer exists on the web site. If the
resource exists in the search engine database, an
error is signaled.
The resource is not in state 2a. The resource should
shortly be indexed by the search engine and should not
be registered now.
The resource is not in state 2a, 2b . . . The resource is not
due to be indexed by the search engine, but has been
modified since it was last indexed by the search engine.
The resource is not in state 2a, 2b, 2c. The resource has
not been modified since last indexed and its listing
on the search engine is correct.
The resource is not in state 2a, 2b, 2c, 2d. The resource
is listed on the search engine, but the web site manager
does not want it to be.
The resource is not in state 2a, 2b, 2c, 2d, 2e. The web
site manager wishes the resource to be registered by the
search engine, but the resource is not registered by the
search engine or due to be indexed by the search engine.
The resource is not in state 2a, 2b, 2c, 2d, 2e, 2f. The
resource is not registered, not due to be indexed, and
the user does not wish it to be.
The resource is not in state 2a, 2b, 2c, 2d, 2e, 2f, or 2g.
The resource is not listed by the search engine and the
site manager does not wish it to be. However, the
file will shortly be indexed by the search engine and the
site configuration currently would not prevent this.
The following are the actions to be taken in each state (see FIG. 2):
Deleted (3a) The resource no longer exists on the web site. The process attempts to remove the resource entry from the search engine database with a CGI program provided by the engine for this purpose (4a). Awaiting No action is taken. indexing (3b) Out of The resource has been modified since it was last indexed date (3c) by the search engine. The process attempts to register the resource for re-indexing with CGI program provided by the engine for this purpose. Well No action is taken. registered (3d) Wrongly The process attempts to remove the resource entry from registered the search engine index using a CGI program provided (3e) by the search engine for this purpose. Wrongly The process attempts to add the resource to the search unregistered engine index using a CGI program provided by the (3f) search engine for this purpose. Correctly No action is taken. unregistered (3g) Will be The web site manager is warned through the process indexed in reporting mechanism (e-mail, a web page, or other error (3h) method) that the manager does not want the resource to be indexed, but the search engine will shortly index it and there are no safeguards in place to prevent this. Site manager can take appropriate steps to avoid registration (4b) or registration will take place (4c).
The following psuedo code indicates the necessary steps in programming which must be taken determine the state of a resource and take the appropriate action.
For each enabled search engine in DatabaseLookup(table of search engines) list of files = search engine table of files If search engine.limit to site search engine files = SearchEngineLookup(all files reported by search engine for this site) list of files = list of files + search engine files End if For each file in list of files last index date time = GetIndexDateTime(file, search engine) If FileExists(file, list of files) If search engine.table of files.file.toberegistered RegisterFile(file, search engine) Next For [each file in list of files] End if last modification date time = GetLastModificationDateTime(file) will be indexed = WillBeIndexed(file, search engine, last index date time) should be registered = ShouldBeRegistered(file, search engine) If last index date time != not found If should be registered If last modification date time > last index date time If will be indexed AddReport(“awaiting indexing”, file) Else AddReport(“out of date”, file) RegisterFile(file, search engine) End if Else AddReport(“well registered””, file) End if Else [File is registered but should not be] AddReport(“wrongly registered”, file) UnRegisterFile(file) End if Else [File is not registered] If should be registered AddReport(“correctly unregistered”, file) RegisterFile(file, search engine) Else If will be indexed AddReport(“will be indexed in error”, file) Else AddReport(“well unregistered”, file) End if End if End if Else [File Does not exist] AddReport(“deleted”, file) If last index date time != not found UnRegisterFile(file, search engine) End if End if [File Exists] End For End For
III. The Process by Which a Search Engine is Updated by a Web Site Using This Process
There are three ways the process may update a search engine:
In practice, these three activities are usually performed by the same CGI program on current search engines. This CGI program is the ‘register file’ program and is run manually by the user of automatically (
On RegisterFile(file, search engine)
Check that the file is appropriate for the search engine
If file is appropriate or IsRegistered(file, search engine)
If file is not appropriate
AddReport(“inappropriate file registered”, file)
If!(file in DatabaseLookup(search engine, table of files))
AddFileToDatabase(search engine, file)
If SearchEngineRegistrationsOK(file, search engine)
If file registered OK
search engine.table of files.file.date last
registered = todays's date
search engine.table of files.file.time last
registered = now
AddReport(“file registered”, file)
search engine.table of files
file.toberegistered = false
AddReport(“Registration failed”, file)
search engine.table of files
file.toberegistered = true
AddReport(“registration delayed”, file)
search engine.table of files.file.
toberegistered = true
AddReport(“registration failed - inappropriate file”, file)
On UnRegisterFile(file, search engine)
If file unregistered OK
AddReport(“file unregistered”, file)
search engine.table of files.file.tobeunregistered = false
AddReport(“Unregistration failed”, file)
search engine.table of files.file.tobeunregistered = true
The present invention would:
On DatabaseLookup(table of search engines) return table of search engines End DatabaseLookup(table of search engines) On DatabaseLookup(search engine, table of files) return table of files(search engine) End DatabaseLookup(search engine, table of files) On AddFileToDatabase(search engine, file) table of files(search engine) += file End AddFileToDatabase(search engine, file) On SearchEngineLookup(all files reported by search engine for site) list of files = ( ) page number = 1 site links = SearchEngineGetPage(search engine, site, page number) while number of site links > 0 list of files += site links increment page number site links = SearchEngineGetPage(search engine, site, page number) end while return list of files End SearchEngineLookup(all files reported by search engine for site) On FileExists(file, list of files) If file is local Perform stat of file return stat.exists else Perform HTTP head request of file If head request indicates that file exists Return file exists else Return file not exists end if end if End FileExists(file) OnGetLastModificationDate(file) If file is local Perform stat of file return stat.LastModificationDate else Perform HTTP head request of file return response.LastModifiedDate end if End GetLastModificationDate(file) On GetIndexDateTime(file, search engine) If search engine.lists index date If search engine supports file lookup If(!LookupFile(search engine, file)) last index date time = not found Else last index date time = lookup.date If search engine.lists index time last index date time += lookup.time End if End if Else last index date time = not found For each phrase in file While GetNextSearchEnginePage(search engine, phrase) If search engine page lists file last index date time = searchpage.file.date If search engine.lists index time last index date time += lookup.time End if Exit For [each phrase in file] End if End While End For End if If last index date time!= not found Translate last index date time to server time End if return last index date time Else If file.date and time last registered is set return file.date and time last registered + search engine.index time End If return not found End If End GetIndexDateTime(search engine, file) On WillBeIndexed(file, search engine, last index date time) If file.date and time last registered is set If last index date time > file.date and time last registered return false End if predicted index date time = file.date and time last registered + search engine.index time return (predicted index date time > today now) Else return false End If End On ShouldBeRegistered(file, search engine) If search engine supports ROBOTS tag If file contains ROBOTS tag return !(ROBOTS tag contains NOINDEX) End If End if If search engine supports robots.txt file If site has robots.txt file return !(file excluded by robots.txt) End if End if return search engine.register by default End ShouldBeRegistered(file, search engine) on AddReport(descriptive text, file) set report = report + file + descriptive text end
Additionally, proxy files could be used in place of any other files. This could be achieved simply by extending the FILE RECORD with a proxy filename, as follows:
The location of the
proxy for the file
Whenever the process registers a resource with the search engine, it could deliver the proxy to the search engine in place of the resource itself. The format of the proxy file could be plain text, or HTML to allow current indexing techniques to continue to work. The format of the proxy file could also be any other markup language, for instance XML. The principle remains the same a text file is used in place of any other file or set of files. This method will allow, for example, Java, embedded objects, graphics, frames, and other file formats to be indexed.
Spamming is a potential problem when using proxy files. The idea of the proxy file is that the search engine uses it to create an index, but the search engine user links to the real file in response to a search query. Clearly, if the contents of the proxy file and the real file do not match, the user will not get what they are expecting. For example, a rogue site owner may set up the proxy file to catch a lot of queries about sex (the most searched for term on the Internet), when in fact their page is trying to persuade you to join their online gambling syndicate.
Spamming will only occur when there is a breakdown of trust between the site owner and search engine owner. The site owners could sign an online contract to guarantee that they will not spam. By signing the contract, they are provided with the embodiment of the process in order to register and maintain their registration with the search engine. If, through spamming, the contract is broken, the search engine can discontinue listing pages temporarily or permanently for the web site in question. It may also be able to take legal action. There are also programmable and scalable methods of defeating spamming—they are irrelevant to this discussion.
It is important to emphasize that web site owners do not have to use the tools provided for their sites to be registered. The search engine can still spider sites whose owners do not use the tools provided, in the same way as conventional search engines spider sites. For sites that are deemed appropriate, the search engine can even set up a surrogate server to implement the present invention on behalf of a non-participating site owner. The present invention is not limited in its application to the details of the particular arrangement shown, since the invention is capable of other embodiments. Also, the terminology used herein is for the purpose of description and not of limitation.
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|U.S. Classification||1/1, 709/203, 715/209, 715/201, 715/234, 709/218, 707/999.003, 707/999.104, 707/999.009, 707/999.01|
|Cooperative Classification||Y10S707/99945, Y10S707/99933, G06F17/3089|
|May 5, 2009||CC||Certificate of correction|
|Jun 8, 2009||FPAY||Fee payment|
Year of fee payment: 8
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|Jul 8, 2010||AS||Assignment|
Effective date: 20100111
Owner name: ACACIA PATENT ACQUISITION LLC, CALIFORNIA
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:SEARCH MECHANICS, INC.;REEL/FRAME:024651/0273
|Aug 24, 2011||AS||Assignment|
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:ACACIA PATENT AQUISITION LLC;REEL/FRAME:026802/0378
Owner name: SITE UPDATE SOLUTIONS LLC, TEXAS
Effective date: 20100113
|Oct 11, 2011||CC||Certificate of correction|
|Feb 4, 2013||REMI||Maintenance fee reminder mailed|
|Jun 13, 2013||FPAY||Fee payment|
Year of fee payment: 12
|Jun 13, 2013||SULP||Surcharge for late payment|
Year of fee payment: 11