From an Intellectual Property stand point there are a number of races going on in techland on many fronts. There's the race to find the next generation smart pen, there's a race to bring smart eyewear to market and there's even a two horse race to bring gesture-based search to market in the not-too-distant future between Google and Microsoft. Yes, Microsoft has filed a new patent application with the US Patent Office covering gesture-based search that could extend to smartphone, tablets, the Xbox, tiltable desktop multitouch displays, next generation Ultrabook convertibles and more. Our cover graphic covers patent FIGS. 12A-12E as basic examples of specific gestures being considered. The dot shown in the bottom center example, for instance, has an added value that indicates that the search query should weight a particular world or term more heavily. While Google's 2012 patent filing shows that they have a substantial lead over Microsoft's Bing team in this area of gesture-based searches, I wouldn't count Microsoft out of this race just yet. In fact Macites may even welcome the new features in the future.
Altering the Scope of a Search using Gestures
Another example of gesture based search involves Microsoft's patent FIG. 4 shown below which illustrates an example technique for altering a scope of a search by resizing the representation 302 defined by the search gesture to include a different region of content to refine the search, thereby broadening or narrowing a scope of the search.
In the illustrated example, the user resizes the representation by a resizing gesture 400. Different resizing gestures may be used to broaden or narrow a scope of the search. For example, in the illustrated embodiment, a reverse pinch gesture (shown by the opposing arrows in FIG. 4) is used to broaden a scope of the search.
In another example, a pinch gesture may be used to narrow a scope of a search. The resizing gesture is detected by a new Microsoft gesture detection module which instructs s gesture tracing module to render a resized gesture representation 402. In response to the resizing gesture, Microsoft's content analysis module of the client device may instantly or continuously (i.e., during the resizing gesture 400) update the search query, submit the updated search query to the search engine and present new search results received from the search engine based on the updated query. In another embodiment, the client device may update the search query, submit the updated search query and receive new search results from the search engine in response to a completion of the resizing gesture.
Microsoft's patent FIG. 1 is a schematic diagram of an exemplary environment including a client device usable to implement gesture-based search
If you're interested in exploring Microsoft's next generation search features that are in the works, then check out patent application 20130006957.
Microsoft's patent application was originally filed in Q3 2012 and published by the US Patent Office earlier this month.
There's a proverb that goes like this: An enemy of my enemy is my friend. I'm sure that Apple will be silently hoping that Microsoft succeeds with this next generation approach to search – because you never know, Bing may one day be the default search engine on future Apple devices. Time will tell.
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