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AN OVERBROAD PATENT ON Search results based on user location and whether stores are open or closed nearby - This application from Inrix, Inc. seeks to patent the idea of...determining a user's location and giving search results which depend on whether stores are open nearby! 10 minutes of your time can help narrow US patent applications before they become patents. Follow @askpatents on twitter to help.

QUESTION - Have you seen anything that was published before 2/29/2012 that discusses:

  • User location to modify search results and using provider (e.g. store) availability to modify search results

If so, please submit evidence of prior art as an answer to this question. We welcome multiple answers from the same individual.

EXTRA CREDIT - Search results based on whether store is open, ETA for user to visit store, and route user would take to visit store

TITLE: Organization of search results based upon availability of respective providers.

Summary: [Translated from Legalese into English] A method for providing search results to a user based on the user's location and whether the providers nearby (within any "temporal or geographic proximity" to the user) are open or closed

  • Publication Number: US 20130226915 A1
  • Application Number: US 13/407,841
  • Assignee: Inrix, Inc.
  • Prior Art Date: Seeking prior Art predating 2/29/2012
  • Open for Challenge at USPTO: Open through 2/25/2014
  • Link to Google Prior Art Search - "Find Prior Art"

Claim 1 requires each and every step below:

A method for providing one or more search results comprising:

  1. receiving a query;

  2. determining a location of a user performing the query; and

  3. providing one or more search results for presentation based upon the query, the search results indicative of one or more providers within at least one of a temporal and a geographic proximity of the location, and the search results provided as a function of whether the one or more providers are available.

In English this means:

A method for providing search results, comprising:

  1. Receiving a query from user;

  2. Determining user's location; and

  3. Presenting search results to the user indicating one or more providers in spatial or temporal proximity, where the search results are a function of whether the providers are available.

Good prior art would be evidence of a system that did each and every one of these steps prior to 2/29/2012

You're probably aware of ten pieces of art that meet this criteria already... separately, the applicant is claiming modifying search results by determining whether provider store is open, whether it is nearby user based on user's location, and current ETA for user to visit the provider store.


"Location and nearby stores are used to modify search results" from the Applicant


What is good prior art? Please see our FAQ.

Want to help? Please vote or comment on submissions below. We welcome you to post your own request for prior art on other questionable US Patent Applications.


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4 Answers 4

Isn't that what every "find a store" link has ever done? determines the user's location (by asking them their zip code, or using their IP address reverse lookup, but more recently by the browser providing the website with the user's location), then doing a distance search, optionally whether or not the product is available? Basically every brick-and-mortar store I can think of has such a feature. Those that don't are the annoying ones. I don't know how long such websites have had such features though.

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Here are a few links to "store finders" similar to what @McKay is describing:

Here is a word press plugin which enables this kind of search functionality:

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If they are looking to provide local results based on user's location using mobile GPS, then iPhone/Google maps already does that. Yelp mobile app provides location-based search results as well, and shows whether the stores are currently open (ie. Providers available).

Google 2009/2010: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/07/16/google_location_based_searches/ http://blogs.computerworld.com/15409/googles_location_based_iphone_search_is_a_big_deal

Yelp 2009/2010: http://officialblog.yelp.com/2009/08/even-mo-mobile.html http://www.appolicious.com/articles/2378-yelp-for-android-and-other-location-based-newcomers

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The below links to prior art PDFs circa 2004-2005 should help. Each of these is a printed publication and 102(b) prior art to the application. See the following:

A method for providing one or more search results comprising:

receiving a query;

Some of the key functional requirements of the system are: to provide a backdrop of tourist information; present local map image and depict the user position upon it; find objects of interest to the user and show their location on the map as well as their names within a list. Additionally the user may acquire information about an object, make a reservation, or get directions to the object.

(2004 Ad-me at 4, col. 2)

The Preceptors acquire environmental stimulus such as user input and GPS coordinates.

(2004 Ad-me at 4, col. 2)

Active Personalization: User interactions are accrued and are automatically exploited in order to dynamically refine the preexisting user profiles.

(2004 Ad-me at 7, col. 1)

determining a location of a user performing the query; and

The Preceptors acquire environmental stimulus such as user input and GPS coordinates.

(2004 Ad-me at 4, col. 2)

The GPS Preceptor acquires the GPS coordinates and then the GPS Actuator passes them to the GUI as well as to the server.

(2004 Ad-me at 5, col. 1)

providing one or more search results for presentation based upon the query, the search results indicative of one or more providers within at least one of a temporal and a geographic proximity of the location, and the search results provided as a function of whether the one or more providers are available.

The high relevant value is assured because of several factors. First advertisements are prioritized amongst other things on the proximity of the supplier to the user.

(2004 Ad-me at 9, col. 1)

A parallel set of profiles exists for each advertisers. These profiles contain such data as outlet location, special promotional offers, opening times and parking or delivery facilities.

(2004 Ad-me at 7, col. 2)

MIA also constitutes a multi-agent based location-aware information system for mobile users. MIA's emphasis is one of retrieving content from the web and delivering this to the user. The retrieved information is relevant to the city where the user is currently located. It merely uses user location as the key.

(2004 Ad-me at 8, col. 2)

The service is augmented with a range of pull technology functions including a find nearest function which will find a desired object (e.g. restaurant, museum), that is closest to the users [sic] current position. Objects are selected from a list of standard objects including inter alia cash machine, taxi rank, pharmacy, train station, and police station. The system addresses interoperability and delivers its service in a manner sensitive to the users [sic] technological context.

(2004 Ad-me at 4, col. 2)

Ad-me utilizes user profiles in order to present to the user context sensitive advertisements which in particular takes cognizance of: ... Those items of high interest to the user; ... Products and Services that are within the immediate user locality; Products and Services that are available at a given instance (opening times, in stock).

(2004 Ad-me at 7, col. 1)

See also 2004 Ad-me at 3, col. 1 (computing context, user context, physical context and time context)

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