Introductory Note: The Gear Grinder with Danny Rooney is taking a week off, as Danny recuperates from his Man U boys taking it on the chin from FC Barcelona in the Champions League final. Don’t forget to read the previous entry in the Gear Grinder series: How Sports Are Like the Patent Industry
There are two ways of being happy: We must either diminish our wants or augment our means – either may do – the result is the same and it is for each man to decide for himself and to do that which happens to be easier. – Ben Franklin
My fellow patent professionals and aficionados, prepare to diminish your wants with regards to Google Patents.
One of the most lauded features of Google Patents, Cover View, has been eliminated. This feature allowed users to display a results page as a series of representative patent drawings, which was a boon to mechanical searchers heavily reliant on “image searching” in particular.
Hat tip to friendly reader John, who commented on our previous blog post about Google Patents Cover View.
Read on to find out with what Google replaced Cover View and why it’s not a good tradeoff for patent searchers at-large.
When Google made a minor redesign to its search results page, it added the Patents search portal to the list of the other portals it offers (such as Everything, Images, Videos, News, Shopping, etc.). Now, anyone searching on Google can switch between portals on the prominent left-hand side of the interface. This was a positive change, since it brings patent searching more attention from the general web-searching public. On the other hand, this maneuver also pigeonholed Google Patents into using the same display format as Blogs, Discussions, and other portals that only show a text excerpt.
In the case of Google Patents (as it is now–these things can change without notice from Google), we’re left with a snippet of keyword-in-context and some bibliographical information: document number, filing date, grant date, and assignee in some cases.
Nowhere to be seen, even as an option, is Google Patents Cover View. It’s a shame to see such an interesting and useful feature fall by the wayside for no clear reason. As is often the case with Google products, the user is left to take or leave what is given. Considering the still powerful algorithm behind Google Patents, I can’t say that it isn’t a useful system…it’s just not what it used to be.
What do you think of Google Patents? Let us hear your opinions in the comments section below!
This post was contributed by Intellogist Team member Chris Jagalla. The Intellogist blog is provided for free by Intellogist’s parent company Landon IP, a major provider of patent searches, trademark searches, technical translations, and information retrieval services.