Feeds

Google lands patent for, um, estimating shipment time

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

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

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. ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
Driving with an Apple Watch could land you with a £100 FINE
Bad news for tech-addicted fanbois behind the wheel
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom
Consultation promises new spectrum and hints at relaxed licence conditions
Special pleading against mass surveillance won't help anyone
Protecting journalists alone won't protect their sources
Big Content Australia just blew a big hole in its credibility
AHEDA's research on average content prices did not expose methodology, so appears less than rigourous
Vodafone to buy 140 Phones 4u stores from stricken retailer
887 jobs 'preserved' in the process, says administrator PwC
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.