The neat thing about this is you can Google Google with this to get an interesting list of patents that have been assigned to them using the inassignee operator.
Some of the more interesting results include:
- 7031961: A system and method for searching and recommending objects from a categorised organised information repository -- which looks a bit like Coop on drugs, and could indicate the way Google are planning on heading social.
- 7027987: Voice interface for a search engine. The technology behind a future TV driven Adsense, or what's driving Adsense for radio?
- 7089237: Interface and system for persistent contextual relevance for commerce... Looks like the future of Google Base / Froogle. Note again the references to 'groups of users' and 'recommendation systems'. I predict 2007 is going to see Google enter the social sphere in a big way.
There's plenty more, including some practical hardware patents from their data centers. Hours of fun!