On Tuesday Google was granted a patent to allow the Web company to collect data on where users hover their mouse cursors on search result pages and advertisements.
Google continues to expand to find unique ways to rank Web pages, and now they may be able to learn about user behaviour in a different way: tracking where you point your cursor on Web pages. On Tuesday, Google was granted a new patent that "accounts for the position of a user's mouse cursor on the screen - even without any clicks," as media reports found.
The patent was filed in 2005.
The search giant would supposedly be able to amass information on what users hover over but don't click on, including ads. Google explained its rationale behind securing the patent: "Sometimes, a user may review multiple informational items responsive to a search query, moving a pointer over or near each of the informational items that the user reviews. These various pointer activities can provide another way to evaluate the user's feedback with respect to a particular informational item."
Bill Slawski of SEO by the Sea discussed the patent on his blog: "The patent also tells us that it might give different weights in determining a relevancy value for mouse pointer movements based upon different areas of a result. If someone hovers over the title to a search result, that might carry a different amount of weight than if they hover over the snippet of a result."
Little info is given regarding a mouse cursor simply hovering on a Web page due to user inactivity. It is also uncertain if and when Google will implement this technology.