Apple applies for patent on content popularity tracking

When you hear the words "Apple" and "patent," you usually think of some sexy, groundbreaking piece of technology that the patent is giving us a glimpse of. Unfortunately, all patents can't be that exciting, even if they are coming from Apple, although this one is somewhat interesting to those of us who are data nerds. A recently published patent application covering a way to compute the popularity of web content (particularly podcasts) offers us a peek at what Apple employees are working on. 苏州美睫美甲

One thing they (or more accurately, their patent lawyers) are not working on is their art skills, as evidenced by the (hand-drawn, with a crayon) patent drawings. Fortunately, a bit more time has gone into the application itself. It outlines a method for tracking the popularity of "serial content" without using the number of purchases or downloads as a metric. Why does that matter? Well if you've got something like a podcast that's made up of multiple parts, going by the number of downloads may not do much for you.

The improved method proposed in the application involves using subscriptions to keep a better tally of the popularity. The change in the number of subscriptions could then be looked at to give an idea of how the popularity of a series of content is changing. To add a further twist, rankings can be based on "decayed subscriptions," where subscriptions are given less weights as they get older, until they reach a certain point and are no longer counted

It seems like a bit of a trivial idea to me, but I'm not a patent lawyer, so make of it what you will. In terms of usefulness, this rating system is clearly aimed at things like the Podcast Directory on iTunes. I don't know how much of this (if any) is currently being used to rank podcasts, but rankings for content are a big deal (just look at Netflix), so Apple could have a few tricks up their sleeve that require a system like this.