Google has filed a new patent titled "Agent Rank" which will enable differentiation of content based on its author and assignment of a score to the author. Thus pages which have multiple authors, advertisements or comments will be broken down to an author based ranking before deciding upon the page value.
The patent also clarifies that the score will be assigned on the basis of "one or more assertions made by one or more other agents about content items associated with the first agent."
The abstract of the patent is as follows:
The present invention provides methods and apparatus, including computer program products, implementing techniques for searching and ranking linked information sources. The techniques include receiving multiple content items from a corpus of content items; receiving digital signatures each made by one of multiple agents, each digital signature associating one of the agents with one or more of the content items; and assigning a score to a first agent of the multiple agents, wherein the score is based upon the content items associated with the first agent by the digital signatures.
The 'reputational scores' assigned to authors will be an indication of their authority in a specific field. Thus "an agent that is responsible for an entertainment magazine could have a high reputation score for content related to celebrity news, but a low reputation score for content related to professional medical advice."
Owing to the high reputational score, a positive review by the author can heighten the rankings of a content. The author's history of reviews also becomes a factor in assignment of an value to his reccomendations. As per manipulation, the patent says that the scores will be difficult to raise and easier to decrease. Thus authors will be wary of misleading reviews.