The opponents of software patents are going to have a seizure over this.
The patent, number 10654265, was filed in September of 2003. This patent was quite forward-looking when it was claimed. What does it cover? Paraphrasing the patent it covers a method for an advertisement to be served based on location, geolocated price information, and mobile ad relevancy.
For your enjoyment, the full main claim:
A computer-implemented method for controlling serving of an ad using its relevancy to a request, the method comprising: a) accepting, by a computer system including at least one computer, geolocation information associated with the request; b) comparing, by the computer system, the accepted geolocation information associated with the request with geolocation targeting information associated with the ad to generate a comparison result; c) determining, by the computer system, the relevancy of the ad using at least the comparison result; d) controlling, by the computer system, the serving of the ad, for rendering on a client device, using the determined relevancy of the ad; e) determining, by the computer system, whether the ad has geolocation price information corresponding to the geolocation information accepted; and f) if it is determined that the ad has geolocation price information corresponding to the geolocation information accepted, then determining, by the computer system, a score using at least the geolocation price information, otherwise determining, by the computer system, the score using at least general price information of the ad, wherein the act of controlling the serving of the ad further uses the score of the ad, and wherein the geolocation targeting information associated with the ad corresponds to an area defined by at least one geographic reference point. [emphasis TNW]
Of course, this main claim is refenced by a number of specific parameters. In this case Google outlines carefully what it means to be an area, and how location is found and referenced. I am not sure the direct implications of that, unless perhaps the multiple conditions mean that this patent applies to location found via GPS, and all other methods.
There is a second major claim in the patent describing the device that it is referring to. We can spare you, it defines a smartphone in very generic terms.
This is a very strong patent, well thought out, and with gigantic implications. Google just added a large stick to their armory. Venturebeat has guessed that this patent is going to be a weapon that Google can hang over Apple, allowing Google to step on Apple’s toes whenever it pleases.
We shall see.
Whatever the implications for the giants, Google has just planted a flag in a huge section of the future of mobile advertising. Watch out.