Google Docs and Gmail have always been in the cloud. Microsoft has followed more of a hybrid model. Both are interested in generating revenue from highly targeted advertising. Microsoft and Google have invested money and brain power into creating algorithms that target advertisements to end users. The algorithms increase the precision of the targeted advertising by becoming aware of end users’ interests. Algorithms attribute interests to end users based on their search terms, the contents of their electronic communications, demographic information and the contents of their word-processing documents. If you have a Gmail account, you probably have experienced Google’s contextual targeting, based on keywords in Gmail messages. Other insights for these thoughts come from patents and patent applications, including the following:
- US Patent 8380563 – Using Previous User Search Query to Target Advertisements
- US Patent Application 20130054354 – Generating Advertisements from Electronic Communications
- US Patent 8380734 – Word Decompounder
- US Patent Application 20110035289 – Contextual Dynamic Advertising based Upon Captured Rendered Text
- US Patent Application 20090076886 – Advertisement Plusbox
In a sense there already are client-server versions of this for litigators in the United States. Consider, for example, Lexis(R) for Microsoft(R) Office, which associates content relevant to US litigators (from Lexis.com and public search engines) via Microsoft Office’s application programming interfaces with citations and topics appearing in their work product (email and word-processing documents). It reminds me of CCH@Hand and Wolters Kluwer Italy’s Pluris Link for Microsoft. Another example is BriefTools. Again, these tools presuppose client-server software.
But let’s go a step further. Think about word-processing documents and emails stored in the cloud, such as in Office 365 and Google Docs. Google and Microsoft theoretically could proactively associate content relevant to professionals. The algorithms that they have developed for targeting contextually relevant advertising based on keywords, search histories and demographics could be fine-tuned for tax, legal and regulatory professionals. A citation to a law or regulations in a word-processing document or email stored in the cloud could be linked to its full text from a free government web site. It could be linked to a new explanation authored by a professional editor from Wolters Kluwer or a white paper from a law firm or other professional services firm. Topics could be analyzed and linked to document templates, SmartCharts and even networks of providers of professional services.
The advantage of the cloud is that the algorithms could be applied proactively – no need to wait for an end user to push a button on a toolbar. Emails and text messages could be generated about the proactively associated content.
In short summary, I think that cloud-based storage of work product and the transformation of consumer-focused advertising algorithms provide an environment for innovation for professional publishing.
I hope that you will think about this, read some of the patents and patent applications, and post some comments to keep this conversation moving.
I hope that you also will read them and share your thoughts in the “Comments” section of this blog.