Report:Google Patent Search/Customer Support/Online Help Features
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Online Help Features
Because it is a free system, the makers of Google Patent Search have little incentive to provide much support to users.
Official information on the system’s inner workings is scarce. The website provides a single help page (which does little more than provide definitions for the basic parts of a patent record) and a brief FAQ page, which includes a short tutorial on using the field operators (discussed in Searchable Datafields.)
No live support is available for Google Patent Search, and contact information is limited to a generic e-mail address for technical support, provided on the FAQ page: firstname.lastname@example.org.
During the days after Google Patent Search’ initial release, users reported receiving timely responses to their queries, and there seemed to be a general willingness on the part of the support staff to answer questions. Now, however, there is a sense that the level of helpfulness on the part of Google staff may be declining. Although no one can review the entire body of correspondence between searchers and Google staff, the producers of this article received what seemed to be essentially a form letter in response to specific questions about update schedules, classification data and highlighting glitches. The writer provided no answers to our specific questions.