Search Highlighting Patent

There is an interesting new post over at A List Apart which introduces the "ALA experimental / controversial content warning". Let ALA explain what this means...

It's a warning that the article that it precedes uses experimental techniques to do cool things that we'd like to do more simply but haven't managed to yet - or suggests better ways to do things that give a lot of people hives. If you see the icon, you'll know that you should consider the implications and read the suggested alternatives or improvements in the forum before blithely implementing Method X on every site you work on.

http://www.alistapart.com/articles/wayitssupposedtowork/

You maybe wondering what this has to do with search term highlighting, the topic suggested from the post title, well I headed over to the discuss section of this ALA article and find an interesting post about said title.

It seems Google holds a patent for highlighting search terms, which the good people over at ALA have written a good article on - http://www.alistapart.com/articles/searchhighlight/ - and that I'm incorporating into a new site design as we speak! Check out the abstract from the patent:

A system highlights search terms in documents distributed over a network. The system generates a search query that includes a search term and, in response to the search query, receives a list of one or more references to documents in the network. The system receives selection of one of the references and retrieves a document that corresponds to the selected reference. The system then highlights the search term in the retrieved document.

http://varchars.com/blog/node/view/153

This reminds me of the controversial Amazon One-Click patent I think patents are getting out of hand!