google & lycos patent

Kragen Sitaker (
Wed, 23 Dec 1998 12:41:17 -0500 (EST)

Lycos (well, actually, CMU, I think) holds patent 5,748,954
which covers roughly any kind of web spider that heuristically
downloads "better" documents before "worse" documents, and explicitly
includes a reference to looking at how often a document is linked as a
goodness heuristic.

I notice that Michael Loren Mauldin <>, the Inventor, is
Lycos's Chief Scientist at the moment (according to
<URL:>, last updated 1997-10-31,
and <URL:>, last updated 1998-03-22.)

(Interesting side bit: Mauldin seems to be the guy who wrote
Rogomatic. <URL:>.)

Lycos's web pages <URL:> tell
me that they have another patent pending on "Lycos Pro", which appears
to be <URL:>. I'm not
clear on what, exactly, about "Lycos Pro" is patentable.

What I'm wondering is: does Google's spider operate in the way
described in the patent?

I'm surprised Lycos hasn't got a patent on exactly what Google's
doing. I'm also curious whether Lycos is already doing what Google is;
after all, they already have the "goodness" rankings, and all they'd
have to do would be use them to rank search results.

<>       Kragen Sitaker     <>
[around 1998-12-23], it is amazing to watch fear and loathing and greed at
play with the more speculative Internet stocks.  To call this a tulip
craze would be a vast understatement. -- Adam Rifkin, <>