Google Patents Cover View Disappears

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.

Google Patents current layout

This is the latest layout for Google Patents

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!

Patent Information from Landon IP

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.

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10 Responses

  1. There is probably a patent on the feature…

  2. I agree, I was really disappointed when Google Patent removed its cover view. So I looked around for an free alternative site, and started using Patsnap, which offers a thumbnail view of patent search results, even better than the former Google cover view. In many other ways Patsnap is also better than Google Patent was (and I was a big fan of Google Patent. ‘Was’ a big fan, that is…..).

    • I haven’t checked in on PatSnap in a while, thanks for the reminder! The “Thumbnail” results view does provide an interesting substitute for Google Cover View. I’ll have to profile this in an upcoming post. Thanks Mike!

  3. […] weeks ago, I marveled at the disappearance of Google Patents Cover View. Today, with a reminder from loyal reader Mike Lloyd, I’ll revisit patent search system […]

  4. Google, Congratulations, you have finally become like your rivals Microsoft, after campaigning so hard against it with the quotes “Don’t be Evil”, and i hate the ads which i’m forced to watch everytime i want to see a youtube video, damn you google, you can’t even forward or skip those ads, what the hell is that !!!

  5. As far as the patent search side of things, I think they’re just not aware or don’t care to focus on it.

  6. […] of all (and most relevant to patent searching specifically), we were disappointed to see Google Patent Cover View disappear. We were so disappointed, we looked to other search systems to see where we could get a comparable […]

  7. […]  It’s certainly been a busy year for the Intellogist Blog…between the controversial changes to Google Patents, the release of a major new file history tool, the plethora of free patent and non-patent search […]

  8. […] in the mechanical arts who often use images in search result lists to judge relevance (just as the disappearance of the Cover View in the summer of 2011 was equally […]

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