A TV viewer (sometimes referred to herein as a user) has access to a computer, set top box, smart phone or other Internet-connected electronic device, while he or she is viewing TV content. Occasionally, such a TV viewer executes search queries on the Internet-connected device related to the TV content he or she is watching.
For example, when the user is watching a TV program about wildlife, he or she might execute searches on the Internet-connected device related to the particular animal species being described in that program. As another example, a viewer who is watching a movie might execute searches about locations or the actors appearing in the movie.
Such a viewer when entering a search query might use search terms that are related to but not identical to the particular content being described in the program he or she is viewing. For example, someone watching a TV program with a segment about a particular model of Porsche might execute a search query for "Porsche" or "sports cars" instead of the designation of the particular model that was the subject of the segment.
When there is an acceptable degree of correlation between the program information and the user's search query (e.g., when the user executes a query for "Porsche" during the same time window a TV program is airing that includes a segment about a particular Porsche model), the search engine returns enhanced search results based on the presumption that the user in question was watching that particular TV program -- or that the user in question would be interested in watching that particular TV program.
For example, given that the Porsche model in question is a "911 Turbo," and that the user executed a search query for "Porsche," the server can return information about one or more of: 1) the "911 Turbo" model (e.g., a link to information on the Porsche.com website about the "911 Turbo"), 2) information about the TV program that is currently airing with that segment and 3) suggestions of similar programming that is currently airing or airing in the future and that is available to the user.
One of the points they make in the patent is that this is something that would help people who are in “close proximity” to a TV when searching. That seems odd and isn’t explained in the patent filing.