Report:Google Patent Search/Search Interface/The Search Forms/Quick Search
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Since no login is required, the quick search bar is automatically shown when users navigate to the main page. In addition to the search bar, the page displays the titles and a sample drawing from six patent documents, mainly for fun and to enhance the visual appeal of the site. (These patent selections have been called “random,” but actually appear to be drawn from a pre-selected pool of kooky patents).
A full text search can be immediately conducted by entering keyword queries into the search bar on this page. In addition, this search bar can function as a type of command line interface; it allows fielded searches to be constructed using designated qualifiers. For example, an inventor search may be conducted from this page using the qualifier “ininventor:” followed by a name (e. g. a search on “ininventor: Edison” ). A full list of qualifiers, operators and wildcards that may be used in the Google Patents engine is presented in the Searchable Datafields section, below.
There are a few things to note about the Google Patents main page. First, the system promises a search of “over 7 million patents.” It’s important for users to understand that this means US granted patents and published applications, and not any other kind. Of course, because issue numbers are currently in the 7 million series for US patents, anyone with a patent background would not be fooled by this seemingly high number, but a layperson might be very impressed by the “7 million” number without realizing that this is only a small corner of the patent universe.
Second, new users might notice that under the Google logo, the word “beta” appears. This indicates that the site is still presented in beta-testing mode, meaning that users should expect to encounter more bugs and errors than they would from a normal service. Since its launch, the site has stayed beta, and very little documentation is available on the advances and corrections to the system that have been made since that time. Google as a company has come under criticism from those who feel that it introduces products in beta form to generate buzz, and then is slow to improve them or enforce any higher quality standards, while avoiding responsibility for errors. Whether developers are still as responsive to user input and committed to improving the system as they were at launch is unknown.
- ↑ Kesmodel, David. "For Some Companies, ‘Beta’ Becomes a Long-Term Label." The Wall Street Journal Online. Nov 28, 2005. http://online.wsj.com/public/article/SB113268410649404315-ELrl2qbVdw8qdn2g1oQMKv81cD4_20061127.html. Accessed Oct 25, 2007.