G-Content? Or, G-commerce?

G-content? Or, G-commerce? According to Internetnews.com’s Susan Kuchinskas, a patent application by Google may indicate its plans for opening “new revenue streams to publishers of print, CD and DVD media, while broadening its own revenue base.” The article implies the patent points to something akin to Amazon’s search inside the book that will index magazines and other potential pay-per-view publishing partners. Is this intent telegraphed by the recent launch of scholar.google.com search that indexes academic and professional jouranls? I’m not so sure. I think it may be more about driving e-commerce transactions (G-commerce?) than pay-per-view content peddling.

First, here’s a quote:

U.S. Patent Application No. 20040122811, filed by Google co-founder Larry Page, has a deceptively simple name: “Method for searching media.” But the application illuminates possible plans by the Mountain View, Calif.-based search leader to enable search of printed material, offer pay-per-view documents, scanned documents with clickable ads and even the ability for print publishers to swap out ads in digital copies of their printed pages. There are two key elements of the patent: a method for executing a permission protocol so that the publisher could authorize Google to display more text from the relevant publication; and storing scanned versions of printed documents along with data sets representing the ads that went with them.

Kuchinskas appears to draw a lot of implications from this patent application. To me (granted, patent law and search technology are not my strong suits), it sounds more like the underlying approach to the perpetually beta Google Catalogs, first blogged here exactly two years ago, than any grand scheme to conquer the universe. I haven’t heard much of Google Catalogs in the past two years, but it appears the catalogs are still being updated. Could this be more about forging google-powered e-commerce relationships with direct marketers than about getting more into bed with publishers? Could this be more about the holy grail of mediating e-commerce transactions than about advertising and pay-per-view? If Froogle and Google Catalogs become the front end of online shopping, then, well, I think there’s a fairly decent business model there.