Feeds

Google lands patent for, um, estimating shipment time

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

High performance access to file storage

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. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Audio fans, prepare yourself for the Second Coming ... of Blu-ray
High Fidelity Pure Audio – is this what your ears have been waiting for?
Dropbox defends fantastically badly timed Condoleezza Rice appointment
'Nothing is going to change with Dr. Rice's appointment,' file sharer promises
MtGox chief Karpelès refuses to come to US for g-men's grilling
Bitcoin baron says he needs another lawyer for FinCEN chat
Did a date calculation bug just cost hard-up Co-op Bank £110m?
And just when Brit banking org needs £400m to stay afloat
Zucker punched: Google gobbles Facebook-wooed Titan Aerospace
Up, up and away in my beautiful balloon flying broadband-bot
Apple DOMINATES the Valley, rakes in more profit than Google, HP, Intel, Cisco COMBINED
Cook & Co. also pay more taxes than those four worthies PLUS eBay and Oracle
It may be ILLEGAL to run Heartbleed health checks – IT lawyer
Do the right thing, earn up to 10 years in clink
France bans managers from contacting workers outside business hours
«Email? Mais non ... il est plus tard que six heures du soir!»
prev story

Whitepapers

Mainstay ROI - Does application security pay?
In this whitepaper learn how you and your enterprise might benefit from better software security.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.