News Column

Patent Application Titled "Method and Interface for Comparing Costs of Vacation Components" Published Online

August 21, 2014



By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Computer Weekly News -- According to news reporting originating from Washington, D.C., by VerticalNews journalists, a patent application by the inventors Carter, James (Boston, MA); Daughtrey, Rodney S. (Cambridge, MA), filed on March 14, 2013, was made available online on August 7, 2014.

The assignee for this patent application is Google Inc.

Reporters obtained the following quote from the background information supplied by the inventors: "Traveling to a destination as part of a vacation involves making choices regarding multiple components of the vacation, such as transportation, lodging, destination, activities, and the like. Often, a traveler must pose planning queries to multiple component systems, such as air travel, car rental, ticket/permit providers, and/or attraction web sites, each component system used to discover and make choices for one of multiple possible components of the vacation. In response to a planning query, a particular component system returns, in various possible forms, information pertaining to an associated vacation component, such as price, dates, description, requirements, and the like."

In addition to obtaining background information on this patent application, VerticalNews editors also obtained the inventors' summary information for this patent application: "The present disclosure relates to computer-implemented methods, software, and systems for comparing costs of vacation components. A geographic origin is determined for a received request to start a vacation planning session. A number of proposed vacation destinations are selected, and for each, vacation information is identified. The vacation information includes a location indicator, a vacation date range, and a lowest price associated with the vacation date range. The selected proposed vacation destinations are filtered based upon at least one filtering rule. The filtering rule is based partially upon the determined geographic origin and is used to generate a set of filtered proposed vacation destinations. A presentation of the filtered proposed vacation destinations is initiated. Each proposed vacation destination is associated with an interactive informational element. A received hover event associated with a particular interactive informational element initiates the presentation of an interactive price-date summary graph for the proposed vacation destination associated with the particular interactive informational element.

"The present disclosure relates to computer-implemented methods, software, and systems for comparing costs of vacation components. One computer-implemented method includes determining a geographic origin for a received request to initiate a vacation planning session; selecting, by operation of a computer, a plurality of proposed vacation destinations; and, for each proposed vacation destination of the plurality of proposed vacation destinations, identifying vacation information comprising a location indicator, a vacation date range, and a lowest price associated with the vacation date range; filtering, by operation of a computer, the selected plurality of proposed vacation destinations based upon at least one filtering rule based at least in part upon the determined geographic origin to generate a set of filtered proposed vacation destinations; initiating, by operation of a computer, a presentation of all or part of the vacation information for the set of filtered proposed vacation destinations, wherein each proposed vacation destination of the filtered proposed vacation destinations is associated with an interactive informational element representing the proposed vacation destination; receiving a hover event associated with a particular interactive informational element; and initiating a presentation of an interactive price-date summary graph for the proposed vacation destination associated with the particular interactive informational element.

"Other implementations of this aspect include corresponding computer systems, apparatus, and computer programs recorded on one or more computer storage devices, each configured to perform the actions of the methods. A system of one or more computers can be configured to perform particular operations or actions by virtue of having software, firmware, hardware, or a combination of software, firmware, or hardware installed on the system that in operation causes the system to perform the actions. One or more computer programs can be configured to perform particular operations or actions by virtue of including instructions that, when executed by data processing apparatus, cause the apparatus to perform the actions.

"The foregoing and other implementations can each optionally include one or more of the following features:

"A first aspect, combinable with the general implementation, wherein the geographic origin is determined by at least one of data entry, analysis of an Internet protocol (IP) address, location-based data obtained from a mobile device, global positioning system (GPS) data, or cellular network triangulation data.

"A second aspect, combinable with the general implementation, wherein the proposed vacation destinations are filtered based one or more particular values associated with user profile data.

"A third aspect, combinable with the general implementation, wherein the at least one filtering rule is used to weight each proposed vacation destination.

"A fourth aspect, combinable with the general implementation, further comprising updating the vacation information associated with the proposed vacation destination upon receiving a selector adjustment event for a selector associated with the interactive price summary graph.

"The subject matter described in this specification can be implemented in particular implementations so as to realize one or more of the following advantages. First, a user can view multiple components of a vacation within a single vacation component graphical user interface (GUI) (VCG) of a vacation travel planning computer system (TPCS). This allows the user to conveniently use one TPCS instead of interacting with multiple component systems to plan the overall vacation. Second, the user can compare total vacation costs for various destinations based upon selected components for a specific date or across a given date range. Third, the user can compare the relative cost of a change to a particular component to the various destinations. Fourth, the user can compare the relative cost of chosen components across time. Fifth, the user can select vacation destinations by specific cities/destinations and within some distance/time of a geographic origin. Sixth, the user can view generated vacation destinations by various filtering criteria, such as cost, popularity, friends, and/or other suitable filter criteria. Other advantages will be apparent to those skilled in the art.

"The details of one or more implementations of the subject matter of this specification are set forth in the accompanying drawings and the description below. Other features, aspects, and advantages of the subject matter will become apparent from the description, the drawings, and the claims.

DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS

"FIG. 1 is a block diagram illustrating an example distributed computing system for comparing costs of vacation components.

"FIG. 2 illustrates an example screenshot of a vacation component graphical user interface (VCG) according to one implementation.

"FIG. 3 illustrates an example screenshot of results populated into a VCG due to entered search key words according to one implementation.

"FIG. 4 illustrates an example alternative screenshot of results populated into a VCG due to entered search key words according to one implementation.

"FIG. 5 illustrates an example screenshot of selectable options associated with an entry element according to one implementation.

"FIG. 6A illustrates an example screenshot of an expanded 'Where to go' entry element according to one implementation.

"FIG. 6B illustrates an example screenshot of an expanded 'Where to go' entry element with selected countries according to one implementation.

"FIG. 6C illustrates an example screenshot of an expanded 'Where to go' entry element using a within some distance from home option according to one implementation.

"FIG. 7 illustrates an example screenshot of an expanded 'When to go' entry element according to one implementation.

"FIG. 8 illustrates an example screenshot of an expanded 'Flights' entry element according to one implementation.

"FIG. 9 illustrates an example screenshot of an expanded 'Hotel' entry element according to one implementation.

"FIG. 10 illustrates an example screenshot of provided details for a selected proposed vacation destination.

"FIG. 11 illustrates an example screenshot of alternative provided details for a selected proposed vacation destination.

"FIG. 12 is a flow chart of an example method for comparing costs of vacation components.

"FIG. 13 is a flow chart of an example alternative method for comparing costs of vacation components.

"FIG. 14 is a flow chart of an example alternative method for comparing costs of vacation components.

"Like reference numbers and designations in the various drawings indicate like elements."

For more information, see this patent application: Carter, James; Daughtrey, Rodney S. Method and Interface for Comparing Costs of Vacation Components. Filed March 14, 2013 and posted August 7, 2014. Patent URL: http://appft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO2&Sect2=HITOFF&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsearch-adv.html&r=1049&p=21&f=G&l=50&d=PG01&S1=20140731.PD.&OS=PD/20140731&RS=PD/20140731

Keywords for this news article include: Software, Google Inc..

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Source: Computer Weekly News


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