New Google functions, including patent searching
Via Lifehacker -- Google has launched a beta version of Google Patent Search.
Results include the entire collection of the United States Patent and Trademark Office from the 1790s through mid-2006 (~ 7M patents total). The documentation notes that each result includes:
1. Patent Title: The title of each entry in the search results is the title of that specific patent.Only US patents are included at this time and the interface is only available in English. More information here and here.
2. U.S. Patent Number: The patent office assigns a unique number to each patent.
3. Filing Date: The filing date is the date on which the patent was filed with the USPTO. The filing date is when the inventors applied for the patent and should not be confused with the issue date, which is the date the patent office granted the patent. If we don’t have a filing date for a patent, this field will be blank.
4. Assignee name: The assignee is the person or organization to which the rights of the patent are assigned. If we don’t have an assignee for a patent, this field will be blank.
5. Patent snippet: We include a snippet of text from the patent to show where the specific search terms were found.
And also via Lifehacker, "15 unusual ways to use Google," including tips on how to use Google more effectively an encyclopedia/reference tool, track packages, etc.