Apple patent hints at future Safari navigational interface

Posted:
in Mac Software edited January 2014
A new Apple patent filing promises to scrap the time-honored navigation buttons of web browsers with a new page history that sorts itself based on more natural, easily remembered criteria.



Submitted in early January, the newly published patent application notes that almost all web browsers can only keep track of previously visited websites in chronological order. This might be useful in cases where the site visitor has browsed only a few layers deep, Apple says, but the interface quickly falls apart in more complex situations.



"Users can visit a large number of web pages, which are confusing to view in a chronological order," the patent reads. "And the forward and back buttons are an inefficient and cumbersome way to navigate through multiple web pages."



Instead, the proposed system would automatically sort pages by certain easily identifiable criteria. A user searching for car buying advice could see previously visited automotive sites organized together, for example. A browser could also organize sites by their popularity with the user, the frequency of visits, or even the nature of the visit, such as an e-commerce sale or instances where a download was launched.











While Apple has already tried to address the problem of rapid backtracking with Safari's SnapBack feature, which jumps to the top level of a website, the patent's new method would potentially solve the issues associated with needing to jump from site to site or create separate bookmark sets for different users. A husband and wife could see entirely different categories through a single, identical bookmark icon.







It could also work well outside of the web browsing environment, Apple adds. Since elements can be represented by images as well as text, the technique could apply equally to navigating a file system, a media player interface, or a photo manager.



Some elements of the patent appear to have already found their way into existing or upcoming Apple software, such as iPhoto 8's automatic grouping of photos into events and the Stacks feature that can automatically group downloads and other files together into a single on-screen icon. A program that merges most or all of the features has yet to surface.
«1

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 22
    Do you know the patent number or title? Couldn't find it in Google's patent search...
  • Reply 2 of 22
    s10s10 Posts: 107member
    Wonder which pile will be the largest...
  • Reply 3 of 22
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mraustin View Post


    Do you know the patent number or title? Couldn't find it in Google's patent search...



    Google search is an EXTREMELY incomplete database as is almost all other free patent searches.



    You need a subscription based service for full patent searching.
  • Reply 4 of 22
    emig647emig647 Posts: 2,435member
    I don't know about this... it sounds like it could get messy itself. I would have to see this in action before I could really comment on it. It sounds like sites would get mixed up and you COULDN'T do chronological order???
  • Reply 5 of 22
    what would really be nice, but very very impractical, would be if apple used time machine in safari. Then using tons of storage, they start creating arcives of ever single page online. They would create a new archive of the page ever month. Then when a user comes across a page that is shut down or somthing, they could just activate time machine and go back to when the page was still up.



    I think i may be the only person who would use this, but it would definatly be an easier way to acess opendarwin.



    Plus it would be sort of funny to activate time machine on a webpage and go back in time to see what people were thinking. Like in 10 years, when you look back and laugh at how everyone thought a 160 gb ipod was amazing.
  • Reply 6 of 22
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    It could also work well outside of the web browsing environment, Apple adds. Since elements can be represented by images as well as text, the technique could apply equally to navigating a file system, a media player interface, or a photo manager.



    Your web browser and your file system browser working in tandem. . . Didn't somebody else already do this? Like Microsoft?



    Honestly, I thought 10.5 was going to look more like iTunes than Safari.
  • Reply 7 of 22
    eaieai Posts: 417member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by starrius View Post


    Your web browser and your file system browser working in tandem. . . Didn't somebody else already do this? Like Microsoft?



    Honestly, I thought 10.5 was going to look more like iTunes than Safari.



    It is...
  • Reply 8 of 22
    Sounds like they're trying to optimize it for touchscreens...
  • Reply 9 of 22
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 33,030member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by S10 View Post


    Wonder which pile will be the largest...



    It starts with an "S".



    Seriously though, I think this concept could be very useful.
  • Reply 10 of 22
    Why not a "cover-flow" interface for navigating history ??



    And for a more advanced "search", maybe a 2d (or more ??) cover flow. Up/down would navigate through the possible search criteria and right/left through the items found for each search.



    Just a thought late at night....
  • Reply 11 of 22
    I wonder if my porn is just going to go into one colossal pile, or if I'm going to be able to break it down into sub-categories?
  • Reply 12 of 22
    s10s10 Posts: 107member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by the cool gut View Post


    I wonder if my porn is just going to go into one colossal pile, or if I'm going to be able to break it down into sub-categories?



    Depends if your a dom.
  • Reply 13 of 22
    At first, I thought it was a rather bad idea. But now that I'm really thinking about how it would be, I realllllly want this. I barely use the history now because the list gets so packed that most of the time it's faster to just look for the site again.



    Even if it was separated into different urls while sorted by most pages, I'd be happy.
  • Reply 14 of 22
    Ever heard of bookmarks ? Why would i want yet another heap of crap clogging up my desktop and others.



    Nice idea though but how many people are actually REALLY going to use this. Some times it seems to me that what one does is just innovation for innovation's sake. "I am an engineer and now I must engineer sth new...."



    Quite a lot of people delete their history when they exit the browser and lets face it. Once you discovered "The Internet" you usually settle for a handful or two of site you regularly visit. Now if you cant remember them - you dont need a new interface - you need to see a doctor as you probably show the first symptoms of Alzheimer. Which is not too bad though as you soon will forget that too.
  • Reply 15 of 22
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by S10 View Post


    Depends if your a dom.



    errr... what's a dom?
  • Reply 16 of 22
    addaboxaddabox Posts: 12,664member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by lostkiwi View Post


    errr... what's a dom?



    Get on your knees and I might tell you, worm.
  • Reply 17 of 22
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by S10 View Post


    Wonder which pile will be the largest...



    FOX News.
  • Reply 18 of 22
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    A user searching for car buying advice could see previously visited automotive sites organized together, for example.



    Wanna bet the car is gonna be VolksWagen?
  • Reply 19 of 22
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by addabox View Post


    Get on your knees and I might tell you, worm.



    Are you trying to flirt with me?? OMG
  • Reply 20 of 22
    An amazing idea if they can pull it off.



    Take a look into your own history for all of yesterday. I can separate mine out into 4 or 5 'themes'... and break those down into 4 or 5 sub-themes. To be able to graphically (exposé style) see a thumbnail of 5 webpages each representing those themes, and to either drag out webpages within that theme (like piles) or 'open' the theme (like events in iPhoto)... would seem to be a very natural way of browsing.



    Of course... how does Safari work out which things are thematically similar? Can it do that based on your own history (eg: pages you flip between are likely related, pages you keep going back to are likely to be more important, time spent on pages may indicate importance.. but is that enough?). Or can Google analytics be involved - use your page viewing compared to other people's history to find what the majority of people find related). Actually, I'm sure Google would like to be able to take your page history and from that provide customised ads wherever you go



    It could really be a killer feature.
Sign In or Register to comment.