There is a number of ways that Google can determine how to rank search results. Some examples include linking patterns on the web, where you live geographically, and a user’s search history. But now, it looks like there will be yet another way Google will peer into your life and tailor search results just for you. Google has obtained a patent around the idea of using what’s currently playing on your TV to influence your search results.
Bill Slawski, an SEO patent guru, posted on his blog the news of this new Google development. You can find that post here.
The name of this patent is System and method for enhancing user search results by determining a television program currently being displayed in proximity to an electronic device. Filed on June 30, 2011, it was granted to Google yesterday, September 16, 2014.
Basically, according to this patent, it looks like Google make note of what you’re watching on TV, and then decide if what’s currently on could be used to influence the results you’re shown. As an example that is given on the patent, you see a show about a particular car, then the user does a generic car search. Since a specific car was mentioned in the program, Google could return more specific results. Here is a bit from the patent:
Someone watching a TV program with a segment about a particular model of Porsche might execute a search query for “Porsche” or “sports cars” instead of the designation of the particular model that was the subject of the segment….
Given that the Porsche model in question is a “911 Turbo,” and that the user executed a search query for “Porsche,” the server can return information about one or more of :
1) the “911 Turbo” model (e.g., a link to information on the Porsche.com website about the “911 Turbo”),
2) information about the TV program that is currently airing with that segment, and
3) suggestions of similar programming that is currently airing or airing in the future and that is available to the user.
In this way, implementations provide enhanced search results to viewers of live TV that are relevant to the content of TV programs that they are watching or are likely to be interested in watching.
If you’re wondering if Google will actually make use out of the patent, the answer is “not necessarily.” Even with that knowledge, Google does use this type of process now to a point as part of Google Now.