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  • Siri May Be Infringing on Old Excite Patents


    An investor in Siri Inc, Shawn Carolan of Menlo ventures recently discussed the technology behind Siri with Bloomberg. In his discussion, he spoke about exactly how Siri is able to take voice recognition data and determine intent. The approach that was mentioned discussed how Siri’s approach included “one big block” and mapping “strings of words across” a group of 10 domains of expertise

    According to the technology journalist, Robert Cringely, this method is similar to patents owned by the search portal Excite from 1994. He mentioned the following:

    Here’s how the ArchiText (later Excite) search engine worked. Every query was stripped to its significant words — subjects, objects, verbs and adjectives — then each query became a vector in a multidimensional space with each unique word being a dimension. “How do space rockets stay in orbit when they are flying through space?” would become a vector string one unit long for each of those words but two units long for the word “space.” This bit of semantic DNA was then mapped against an index of millions of web pages that had all been similarly converted to multidimensional vectors. It was quick, scalable, concentrated the processing load on the indexing where it didn’t bog down retrieval, and could reliably return pages like “Why satellites fall from the sky” that might answer the question even though none of the same words were used.
    It is expected that Excite patents will be changing hands soon as a valuable asset to compete with Siri. The interesting thing here is that the patent’s original inventor, Graham Spencer, currently works as an Engineering partner at Google Ventures following his role as Engineering director at Google. In March of 2004, Ask Jeeves (Ask.com) acquired Excite. We’ll have to wait and see if the patents end up providing value against Siri as competitors continue to arise. If what Cringely is claiming is right, there is the possibility that Apple will attempt to acquire the patents to cover important aspects of Siri’s technology.

    What do you think is going to happen? Share any thoughts and opinions below!

    Source: Cringely
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Siri May Be Infringing on Old Excite Patents started by Akshay Masand View original post
    Comments 5 Comments
    1. PokemonDesigner's Avatar
      PokemonDesigner -
      Well I believe that if Apple really wants to market Siri with new phones like the iPhone 5, it's probably in their best interest to pick up as many similar patents as possible so they can do more with it. That is just my opinion so no one get mad over it.
    1. BenderRodriguez's Avatar
      BenderRodriguez -
      Okay um saying something and typing something is totally different, for one your tone

      You would say "find me a movie theater" but on excite type "movie theaters in Austin"

      It sounds to me that excite never thought it would get to voice recognition so they saw no need to clarify well that's there own fault!!!

      I used to use excite like 6 years ago had no idea they were still in business, why on earth would anyone still be using them for mail when you can pop forward it to a new email and make one at gmail or at me.com?
    1. ARon145's Avatar
      ARon145 -
      Quote Originally Posted by PokemonDesigner View Post
      Well I believe that if Apple really wants to market Siri with new phones like the iPhone 5, it's probably in their best interest to pick up as many similar patents as possible so they can do more with it. That is just my opinion so no one get mad over it.
      yea, i agree with you
    1. MMX007's Avatar
      MMX007 -
      Exciting stuff!
    1. DQEight's Avatar
      DQEight -
      Quote Originally Posted by MMX007 View Post
      Exciting stuff!
      I see what you did there.