Accurate Establishment Locations in Google

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Placing Accurate Establishment Locations

Establishments, such as restaurants, gas stations, grocery stores, and other businesses, are constantly opening, closing, and moving to different locations. I have seen local companies referred to previously in Google patents as local business entities, but like the establishment’s name for them. Such movement of businesses is every day, and tracking new locations is helpful.

Google has relied on other sites listing location information for businesses consistently, however getting large numbers of other sites to update location information can be time-consuming and take a lot of effort (and potentially some cost.)  It is in Google’s best interest to indicate the proper locations of new businesses as quickly as possible.

I have written about business locations and the importance of location prominence in ranking search results for local search. But this is the first Google patent I have seen about tracking the sites of businesses to track accurate establishment locations. I have also written about authority pages for businesses in specific areas, and this patent brings the idea of authority web pages back to local search again.

Directories tracking such businesses need to be updated to maintain accurate establishment locations.

Someone may need to update the guide manually when an incorrect establishment gets linked to an area. This need for manual input may result in delays or failure to update a directory resulting in inaccurate establishment locations. That is a problem that this patent aims at helping to solve.

This patent relates to placing accurate establishment locations.

The first image may receive processing devices, including location data associated with the first image’s capture.

The processing devices may then identify a set of images, including geographic location information and identification marks. And each identification mark is associated with accurate establishment locations.

  • Determine whether the first image contains an identification mark of any set of images.
  • Decide that one of the establishments associated with one of the identification marks in the first image gets located within a set proximity of the first image location.
  • Update a location database by associating one of the establishments with a set location within the set proximity of the first image location.

Another embodiment provides a system for determining and updating accurate establishment locations.

This system may include computing devices having processors; and memory storing instructions, executable by the processors. The instructions may include receiving a first image including accurate establishment locations associated with the first image’s capture, wherein the location data consists of a first image location;

  • Identifying, with computing devices, a set of images, wherein each image of the collection of images include geographic location information and identification marks, wherein each identification mark is associated with establishments.
  • Comparing the first image to the set of images.
  • Determine, based on the comparison; the first image contains one of the identification marks.
  • Determining that one of the establishments, associated with one of the identification marks contained in the first image, is currently located within a set proximity of the first image was captured.
  • Update a location database by associating one of the establishments with a set location within the set proximity of the first image location.

 

Establishment anchoring with geolocated imagery
Inventors: Brian Edmond Brewington, and Kirk Johnson
Assignee: Google LLC
US Patent: 11,232,149
Granted: January 25, 2022
Filed: July 24, 2019

Abstract

The technology relates to determining an establishment’s presence at geolocation.

A computing device may receive a first image, including location data associated with the first image’s capture.

A set of images, including location information and identification marks associated with establishments, may also be received.

The computing device may compare the first image to determine whether the first image contains an identification mark and decide that the establishment, associated with the identification mark from the first image, is currently located within a set proximity of the first image location.

The computing device may also update a location database by associating one of the establishments with a location within a set proximity of the first image location.

 

 

Logo-Labeled Images Help Determine Accurate Establishment Locations

The technology relates to determining an establishment’s presence at a specific geographic location. For example, images received from various sources may contain location information, such as geolocation information.

These images may get analyzed by processing devices to determine whether the pictures include any identification marks indicative of an establishment. For every photo that provides such an identification mark, a logo label indicating the image contains an identification mark may be associated with the idea.

In another example, logo-labeled images may be retrieved from a storage system that stores snapshots of identification marks such as logos.

Further, an establishment associated with the identification mark may also be associated with the image.

A captured image, taken at a known location, may then be compared to a set of the logo labeled pictures associated with a place within a predetermined distance of the area of a captured image. In this regard, the captured images may be searched for any identification marks in the set of logo-labeled images. Upon finding a matching identification mark, the presence of an establishment associated with the matched identification mark may be anchored at the location of the captured image.

To associate, or disassociate, an establishment at or from a specific location, publically available images, for example, web-based pictures from the Internet, maybe gathered. Photos from websites may get collected and stored in a database or cache. For example, a web crawler may continually crawl through Internet websites and keep every picture found.

Further, the web crawler may store the images associated with the web address from which the image was found. Photographs may be retrieved from storage systems such as those that hold various photos or those that specifically store photos of identification marks such as logos.

Each image may be assigned a label that identifies, suggests, or otherwise indicates the contents of the picture. For example, automatic photo label technology may attach labels to each photo with confidence levels.

Images that include identification marks of an establishment, such as a logo, business name, sign, etc., may be labeled as “logo.” Each image labeled as a logo may also be associated with a location, such as an address or geolocation.

In this regard, each logo labeled image may contain either implicit or explicit location information.

Additionally, for any web-based images, each web-based image may be associated with an address found on the website from which the web-based idea was gets found.

 

Authority Webpages for Identification Marks

Websites associated with a logo labeled web-based image may be considered authority webpages for the identification mark within the web-based image.

A captured image may then be compared to logo-labeled images. In this regard, the processing devices may perform an image-within-image search to determine whether any portion of the captured image matches any identification marks found in the logo-labeled images.

Image-within-image searching may get performed using an image matching algorithm. While performing the image-within-image search, variants of the captured image and logo-labeled images may also be compared.

The captured image may also be compared to a set of logo-labeled images. In this regard, the captured image may be compared only to a group of logo-labeled images within a predetermined distance of the captured image.

On finding a matching identification mark between the captured image and one of the logo images, the establishment associated with the matched identification mark may be anchored at or associated with a location within a set proximity of the area of the captured image.

As such, location data, such as mapping data, business directories, etc., may be updated to provide current location information for the establishment associated with the matched identification mark.

Further, if the identification mark is associated with an authoritative website, and the location of the captured image is at or near the area found on the traditional website, the anchoring of the establishment may be done with high confidence.

In one example, if an establishment moves or closes, newly captured images may not include an identification mark present in past captured images.

Accordingly, as newly captured images get compared to logo-labeled images, an identification mark that was not present before may start to appear, and the previous identification mark may no longer be current.

This use of images might indicate that the establishment associated with the previous identification mark should get marked as closed or moved.

Mapping data, business directories, and other location-dependent data may be continuously updated to provide accurate establishment locations.

In addition, such an indication of closure may be further verified by searching the authority webpages of the previous identification mark and the new identification mark. Suppose the authority page of the unique identification mark indicates the first location, and the authority page of the old identification mark indicates a different location than the first location.

In that case, high confidence can be inferred that a new establishment is present at the first location.

To Associate or Disassociate An Establishment At A Certain Location

Many images may be collected. In one example, web-based images may be gathered from the Internet and stored as a collection of web-based images. In this regard, a web crawler may continually crawl through internet websites and keep every picture found.

The images from the websites may be gathered and stored in a database, cache, etc., of the storage system, such as an example of a company’s website, “Circle Pies.” A web crawler may crawl to the website by going to the web address of Circle Pies.

Accurate Establishment locations

 

The web crawler may then review the data on the website and determine that the website contains two web-based images. Based on this determination, the web crawler may store web-based photos, for example, at a storage system.

The web crawler may also store the web-based images associated with the website’s web address on which the image was found. For example, the website may get located at the web address “http://www.a.com/circlepies.” The web-based photos may then be stored in association with the web address in a collection of web-based images stored at the storage system.

Images may be retrieved from other storage systems, such as those storing various images and associated EXIF data and those that specifically hold images of identification marks such as logos.

In this example, each logo image may get associated with address or location information for the logo corresponding to the business or location where the logo can be found.

Each collected image may be assigned a label that indicates the contents of the image. For example, automatic photo label technology may attach labels to each web-based photo with confidence levels. Labels may include “person” for a picture of an individual and “car” for images that identify cars.

Confidence levels may have a rating, such as a value from 0-1, 1-100, or 1-10 or other rating systems, which indicates that a label applied to one of the images accurately describes the contents of the image.

The processors may analyze images to determine whether they include identification marks that indicate an establishment. Establishments may consist of businesses, organizations, associations, condominiums, etc. In this regard, the photo label technology may get used to determine images with identification marks and assign a logo label indicating the image contains an identification mark. Photographs that include identification marks of an establishment, such as a logo, business name, clip art, sign, etc., may be labeled as “log” by the automated photo label technology. Images that include identification marks of an establishment may be assigned a label other than “log” to indicate the pictures have identification marks.

For example, images that include identification marks of an establishment may get clustered into a group of pictures with labels such as “business name,” “sign,” “clip art,” etc. As another example, images may already get associated with information identifying the image as including a logo specified in EXIF data. This information may also label the image as having a logo, for example, associating the image with the logo label.

Additionally, an establishment associated with an identification mark may also be associated with the image. For example, the automatic photo label technology may find that image is an image of a pizza, and the automated photo label technology assigns the image a ” food label.” In one example, techniques that analyze contents within a photo to assign an annotation describing the contents to the photo, such as those that use statistical classification methods to index pictures, may be used to label photos automatically.

A Trained Machine Learning Model for Accurate Establishment Locations

This use of images to update accurate establishment locations was interesting to learn about. The patent tells us that a machine learning model may be trained on manually labeled images relative to a reference taxonomy.

The trained machine learning model may automatically assign labels to images by the reference taxonomy. For images, the automatic photo label technology may determine that image is the logo for the establishment Circle Pies, and therefore a logo label may be assigned to the image. Further, the image may also be associated with the establishment of Circle Pies.

Each image labeled as a logo may also be associated with a location, such as an address or geolocation. Each logo labeled image may contain explicit location information stored directly in the metadata associated with each logo labeled image. (This is the most references I have seen to EXIF data in images in a Google patent.)

For example, an embodiment may include a precise longitude and latitude reading in the image’s metadata, such as the EXIF information. EXIF data may provide the location where the photo was captured.

Alternatively, or in addition to the explicit location information, implicit location information may get derived from determining the location of objects captured in each image. For example, an image may have caught the Statue of Liberty, and the Statue of Liberty’s site may be known, and estimation of where the idea was captured can be made based on the known location.

The estimated location can be refined based on image data, such as the direction in the image was captured. Implicit image location for a web-based image may be inferred from the website where the photo was found. For example, a website that hosts a web-based image may include an address, and the address on the website may then be associated with the web-based image hosted on the website.

Additionally, each web-based image may be associated with an address found on the website from which the web-based image was or gets found. The website includes a street address, and a logo labeled web-based image may then be associated with a street address as its location.

Authority WebPages Associated with Locations

Websites associated with a logo labeled web-based image may be considered authority webpages for the identification mark within the web-based image.

In other words, an authority page may be an official or unofficial webpage of the establishment associated with the identification mark found within the respective web-based image.

For example, the website may be the official website for establishing “Circle Pies.” In this regard, the website at web address may be made an authority page for the web-based image, including the identification mark belonging to the establishment Circle Pies. Accordingly, the web-based image may be associated with an indication that it was found on an authority page.

Websites that contain copyrighted or proprietary material may not be used as authority pages.

Images Can Help Indicate Locations

Logo labeled images may have been captured or otherwise stored at a storage system associated with locations. A set of the logo-labeled images may be within a predetermined distance of the place. Accordingly, the logo-labeled images found within a location radius may be added to or included in the set of logo-labeled images. Thus, logo-labeled images captured at geolocations may be added to or included in the set of the logo-labeled photos compared to the captured image.

In addition,  the set of logo-labeled images may also be identified based on the confidence level of the images. In this regard, a given logo labeled images may be added or included in a set of logo labeled images if the assigned confidence level of the provided logo labeled image meets or is above a minimum threshold value.

Upon finding a matching identification mark between the captured image and one of the logo labeled images, the processors, such as processors of server computing devices, may anchor or associate the establishment associated with the matched identification mark to or with the location of the captured image.

The establishment may get associated within a predetermined proximity of the captured image. The set location may be a street address. As such, location data stored in a location database, such as mapping data, business directories, etc., may be updated to provide accurate establishment locations associated with the matched identification mark.

To ensure anchoring gets done with high confidence, specific criteria may be required to get met before anchoring the identification mark at the location of the captured image. For example, suppose the identification mark is associated with an authoritative website, and the captured image’s place is at the authoritative website’s location. In that case, the anchoring of the establishment may be with high confidence.

To ensure high confidence, a set number of newly captured images, such as five or more or less, may need to have the same matching identification mark before an establishment gets anchored to the captured image’s location.

What to Do If Your Business Moves, According to the Patent

It looks like you ideally should take new photos of your new location and submit them to Google.   You should also update the authority site for the business and make sure that the new location is listed there. According to the patent:

In one example, if an establishment moves or closes, newly captured images may not include an identification mark present in past captured images. Accordingly, as freshly caught images get compared to a set of logo-labeled images, an identification mark that was not present before may start to appear, and the previous identification mark may no longer be current. This identification might indicate an establishment associated with the last mark identification should get marked as closed or moved.

In addition, such an indication of closure may be further verified by searching the authority webpages of the previous identification mark and the new identification information. Suppose the authority page of the new identification mark indicates the first location. In that case, the authority page of the old identification mark suggests a different location than the first location. In that case,  high confidence can be inferred that a new establishment is present at the first location.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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