Feeds

Google lands patent for, um, estimating shipment time

'Telling a customer when their goodies will arrive? We own that'

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications

Four months and nine days after April Fools' Day, Google was granted a patent for telling a customer when a product shipment will arrive.

The patent, entitled "Electronic shipping notifications" and awarded this Tuesday, covers the calculation of the estimated time of a shipment's arrival based on an order's status and "other information", and the sending of an "electronic message such as an email or text message" to the customer informing them of that estimate.

"The customer can thus arrange for someone to be at the shipping address to receive the shipment at the estimated arrival time," the patent reads. How considerate.

Google 'Electronic shipping notifications' patent illustration

A flow chart included in Google's new patent – and, no, we're not making this up

The patent, which was filed in January 2007, deems its customer-notification system to be superior to the standard customer-looks-up-the-delivery-time-using-a-tracking-number system, which it says "might include an overly-conservative, and incorrect, delivery date prediction.

Even worse, the patent claims, with that old-fashioned look-it-up system, "even if the delivery date prediction is correct, the status information does not provide the likely time of delivery."

Quelle horreur!

Now, we're not saying that delivery-time prediction and notification can't or shouldn't be improved. But in these patent-litigious days, should common-sense improvements to basic customer service be subject to patent protection?

C'mon, USPTO. Google loves to whine about how bogus the whole patent-protection racket is, even as they play the game to their own benefit.

And now you hand them this silliness?

Mark my word, dear reader. It won't be long before you read in The Reg about Google launching a suit against, say, Amazon, for infringing upon US Patent #7,996,328. ®

Using blade systems to cut costs and sharpen efficiencies

More from The Register

next story
BBC goes offline in MASSIVE COCKUP: Stephen Fry partly muzzled
Auntie tight-lipped as major outage rolls on
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
Nadella: Apps must run on ALL WINDOWS – PCs, slabs and mobes
Phone egg, meet desktop chicken - your mother
White? Male? You work in tech? Let us guess ... Twitter? We KNEW it!
Grim diversity numbers dumped alongside Facebook earnings
HP, Microsoft prove it again: Big Business doesn't create jobs
SMEs get lip service - what they need is dinner at the Club
ITC: Seagate and LSI can infringe Realtek patents because Realtek isn't in the US
Land of the (get off scot) free, when it's a foreign owner
Dude, you're getting a Dell – with BITCOIN: IT giant slurps cryptocash
1. Buy PC with Bitcoin. 2. Mine more coins. 3. Goto step 1
There's NOTHING on TV in Europe – American video DOMINATES
Even France's mega subsidies don't stop US content onslaught
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.