Invented by G. Gregory Carpenter, Timothy L Kay, Tropare Inc
The Tropare Inc invention works as followsThe present invention comprises systems and methods of retrieving information using a flexible, consistent and targeted search model. This includes interactive multi-prefixes, multi-tiers and dynamic menu information retrieval (including techniques for generating targeted ads). These techniques provide context-specific functionality tailored specifically to certain information channels as well as records within or between such channels and other state information. The users are provided with a consistent interface for searching across multiple levels and a wide range of information sources. They do not need to learn any special search syntax. Users of resource-constrained devices can find targeted information faster by using a thin-client server controlled architecture. This allows them to enter fewer keystrokes, perform fewer query iterations, and refresh web pages. Cloud services are used to build applications that allow the sharing and maintenance of user content.
Background for Apps can be built and shared using cloud-based collaborative services.
Field of Art”,
This application is a general one that relates to information retrieval, and in particular to dynamic menus, multi-prefixes, and multi-tiers, as well as interactive search techniques. It also leverages collaborative “cloud” services to enable the maintenance and sharing of such information. Cloud services enable the sharing and maintenance of information.
Description of Related Art.
In the past few years, web-enabled phones have been extremely popular. Web-enabled phones are shipped more than desktops and notebooks combined. These mobile phones have similar features to desktop computers and mobile devices, including a display screen, keyboard and sometimes a pointing tool. Mobile phones have significantly less display, keyboard, and pointing device capabilities due to portability. The displays are small and have little space to display menus, toolbars and other navigational and status information. Keyboards are usually telephone keypads, thumb keyboards, or both. When provided, the pointer is usually a joystick or scroll wheel that can be pressed or used to indicate movement in a certain direction. The pointer can be a simple set of arrows on the keyboard. Due to speed and latency problems, the navigation between web pages on mobile phones is usually much slower than on desktop or notebook computers.
The limitations of the mobile phone’s human interface, coupled with slower navigation, severely limit a user?s ability to interact on web pages. Due to limitations in data input, it is difficult to use HTML forms on mobile phones. These problems can be categorized in many different ways. “For example, mobile keyboards and pointers are less efficient than those on desktop and personal computer.
Keyboards are less efficient because they make it harder to type characters. The keyboard may be smaller or have fewer keys in some cases. Smaller keyboards require thumbing, which is typing with the thumbs instead of ten fingers. It is more difficult to enter special characters and digits with fewer keys. Some keyboards look like telephone dial pads, with multiple letters per key. Triple tapping (pressing the key repeatedly until the desired character appears) and predictive texts are among the technologies that help improve the efficiency of these keyboards. However, the effectiveness still falls far short of that of a standard keyboard.
The pointer is less efficient. HTML forms contain many input fields, and the pointer can be used to navigate between them. When available, mobile phone pointers are less efficient than mice or pointers used on desktop computers to navigate between input fields and hyperlinks, as well other screen objects. When a field is focused, the field can be typed by tabbing using a full size keyboard. On mobile phones, tabbing usually takes place via the directional pad. The field is then selected and enabled for typing. On desktop computers, you can also use a mouse to navigate from one field to the next without having to go through all of the other fields. “On mobile phones, you can’t skip fields. You have to move from one to the other.
However some web-enabled phones have touchscreens which allow direct interaction with the objects displayed on the screen. Users can, for example, touch an object on the screen directly with a fingertip or stylus rather than navigate to it indirectly via a pointing tool. Even this “improved” user interface technique raises usability issues. Even this ‘improved’ The use of user interface techniques can create usability issues, as the distinction between’selecting’ An object blurs. There are several ways to distinguish between the two. One is by placing an icon on the object or another visible identifier, or by counting the number of clicks, taps, or how long a person ‘presses’ down on the object. “Some potential solutions for distinguishing between the two include providing an icon or other visible identifier on a portion of the object, or determining how many times a user clicks or taps it, and/or how long a user?presses down?
In any case, the ability of selecting an object without activating it is particularly important for systems that offer alternative functionality specific to one object. When a user clicks on an HTML hyperlink, a web-browser will typically open a new page that corresponds to the URL in the hyperlink object. However, the user may want to check the URL first before activating the hyperlink.
A context menu is one way to offer a user different functionality for a specific object. Context menus offer a user one or more alternatives functions within a specific ‘context. Context menus provide a user with one or more alternative functions available within a specific?context? Context menu items may change dynamically when the context changes.
In a mobile communication environment, it is harder to provide context menus that users can interact with quickly. Information retrieval systems can be constantly changing, for instance, when new search results arrive from remote servers or as system information is updated, such as a user’s GPS location, the time, etc. Other constraints, such as the processing speed, memory, and bandwidth limitations of mobile devices and mobile communication networks, are also present. “These constraints, combined with the different types of data that can be retrieved remotely, such as web pages, make it more difficult to customize context menu items to specific objects or categories.
In contrast to ‘random’ full-text searches that users often perform on desktop computers in home and office environments (where multiple iterative searches and analyses of resulting web pages can be completed relatively quickly due to greater bandwidth and local computing resources), users in a mobile communications environment often perform more?targeted? “In contrast to the ‘random’ Searches for lists, schedules, and other information are often performed in an environment where the user is aware of their existence or location. To be useful, such information must be retrieved quickly. “Common mobile searches, for example, include stock quotes, sports results, movie times, and nearby coffee shops or restaurants, to name just a few.
Targeted search is less compatible with the random keyword searches commonly used on desktop and mobile devices. Users enter complete keywords, and then navigate through web pages and results across a wide range of websites. Mobile devices in particular need solutions that allow users to find targeted information quickly and with little user interaction. These solutions would allow users to access both the breadth and depth of an information domain (such as the Web with its large collection of websites or a large database of enterprise data) while still allowing them to use a single ‘channel’. Or information category, which may offer unique functionality within or across web sites or databases.
Some mobile phones support applications that are customized to retrieve highly targeted information, such as Pocket Express. application from Handmark Inc. (http://express.handmark.com/) which provides discrete modules for retrieving news, stock quotes, sports scores and various other specific types of information. Although useful for retrieving certain specific data quickly, the available information domain is very limited. This is partly because each category of information required its own customized module. This approach is not scalable due to the wide variety of information channels that are available on the internet. Users are also limited by the predefined data structures of each module to browse or select items. Users can select a headline to read the complete story but cannot search within a module.
Other products have tried to reduce the user’s interaction by allowing users to enter word prefixes and word fragments. Results are displayed interactively while the user types. See, for example, a presentation at Google (http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=7012265262667474421&q=type%3Agoogle+engEDU) in this area, or the ?vTap? program from Veveo, Inc. (http://www.vtap.com), as well as Veveo’s various published patent applications, including both PCT publications (WO/2007/062035) and US publications (2008011473, 20080086704, 20070255693, 20070130128, 20070088681, 200701754, 20070050337, 20070005563 and 20060101499). These approaches provide an information retrieval system that is better suited to targeted searches. However, they lack a generic searching mechanism that could be used to narrow down a search within a wide range of information channels to provide a targeted or focused search as well as additional functionality.
Google, in a recent talk (http://ihtc.org/meeting.php?meeting=march08), discussed a ?multi-tier? In this technique, the user searches for a website (for instance, “Wikipedia”). The result of that search includes a link to the site and a box where a’second-tier? The user searches for a web site (for example, ‘Wikipedia? Searches can be entered directly into the search box (saving the need to click on the link, then type in the search for the second level). Some solutions are similar, such as using special keywords to identify the second-tier website within the search query. These solutions are based on the different search engines that exist across second-tier websites. This not only forces users to adapt to new search query formats but may also provide inferior results compared to Google’s powerful search engine. Such anomalies could be avoided by a more integrated multi-tiered approach that provided a consistent search engine among different tiers, as well as between various information channels.
As mentioned above, a second search technique has been used to minimize the user’s interaction. This is true for single or multiple prefixes, as well as full keywords. While the user is typing a query. A system may display several suggested phrases or words that match the letters or words typed by the user so far, and allow the user to choose from these phrases or keywords, without having to finish the entire query. However, it should be noted that these systems can reduce user interaction by displaying suggested results, based on implicit or explicit query phrases or keyword suggestions, rather than just displaying suggested queries.
This approach to predicting results is very useful. “Such an approach of providing?predictive results? Displaying targeted ads that can be further tailored by contextual information such as demographics, location, viewing histories, etc. A multi-tiered approach would also provide a consistent search engine among different tiers, as well as across various information channels. It could also improve the targeted ads with an increased ad stock.
Aside from a need for a more consistent and integrated search mechanism, applications also need to be able to access content in an usable format, and to allow users to share and retrieve this content. Applications, whether they are hosted on desktops, web-based environments or mobile devices, often require mechanisms that allow users to import or enter content in a way that facilitates the functionality of the application. Applications (or “apps”) are usually designed to be used in a specific way. Applications (or?apps?) typically maintain this content in a proprietary format. They may allow for data to be imported or exported in one or more standard formats.
If users want to update content in the future, then apps should provide a way for them to do so. If certain groups of users need to share their content, the apps must provide an additional sharing mechanism. This will typically include user authentication and control of access for specific activities (e.g. viewing and editing all or parts of the content).
Cloud computing is a term that has been used to describe this need. Users want shared content they can access and update from different devices. Content can be stored either on a server or networked storage device (typically connected via the Internet), as well as on individual users’ devices (networked desktop, laptop, or mobile phone). This content is accessible by a remote app or local “distributed” app that synchronizes it.” Apps that are distributed locally or remotely can access such content.
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