ROVI GUIDES, INC. (San Jose, CA)

A search is made using the input of a voice, paired with the user’s selection of entities that are displayed on a screen and real-world entities. The input of a voice is received by an audio device along with a choice of the first entity displayed on the media device. A combination spoken by the voice input triggers the media device to wait for selection of a second one prior to performing the search. When it is selected by the second entity then a search query is constructed using the voice input, the first entity, and the second. The search query is then transmitted to a database. Then, in response the device receives at least one identifier of at least one item in the content. The at least one identifier is generated for display for the user.

This announcement is about electronic search engines in particular, searches that are based on real-world and on-screen entities.

The amount of content available to users for consumption continues to increase and the variety of items that have the same characters, actors, locations, objects, or any other entity increases. When looking at a content item, a user might recall seeing a specific actor or character that was featured in the content item in other content items, but not recall any other details about the content item. To identify the is the content item that he or she is recalling, the user generally has to open an interface for searching and type in the name of the character and try to locate the content item within an array of search results. The user must spend time entering the search and reviewing the results before coming across the result that corresponds to the content item they recalled. In certain instances it is possible that the user does not remember the name of the actor, or only remember seeing the actor at the same location in a different content item. This means that the user might not be able locate the item in a way that is effective.

Methods and techniques are described in this document for conducting an online search using a voice input and a selection of entities displayed on a display screen and real-world entities. As used herein “entity” could refer to an actor, a person, an object, a location as well as a sound or the like which can be used as a search term to find and/or filter content items. Media devices receive an audio input from the user. The media device shows a selection of the first entity that is displayed on the display. This display can be any type of display, such as touchscreens and virtual reality displays. The gesture of the user is recorded and tracked. A second real-world entity is then identified. The search query is constructed based on the first entity that is the searcher and the second. The search query is transmitted to a database and, in response the mediadevice receives at least one identifier for at least one item of content. The at least one identifier is generated for display to the user either visually or through audio. In some embodiments the media device is able to determine an identifier for the first entity, and an identifier of the second entity. The search query is then constructed based on the identified search operator as well as the identifier for the first entity, and the identifier of the second entity.

Certain embodiments permit the identification of the gesture through recording the motion of the user with a camera. The direction of the gesture could be identified. A camera captures an image of the region that corresponds to the direction of the gesture. The image captured is processed, and the other entity is identified. For example the media device can perform image processing to determine several entities within the image. A path is then extrapolated by analyzing the direction of the gesture. Then, an entity of the plurality of entities that where the path intersects, is identified. To capture a second image of the area an additional camera could be used. The second path is extrapolated from the direction of the gesture. An entity that intersects two paths is identified as the second entity.

The voice input can be processed to identify a pronoun corresponding to the second entity. The image processing process is carried out to recognize a number of entities within the image. The respective pronoun for each entity is determined based on the particularity of each entity. Each pronoun for each entity can be evaluated against the pronoun of the voice input. The other entity is the entity that has a pronoun is in agreement with the pronoun used in the voice input.

Multiple cameras may be mounted on the media device. At the very least, one camera could be used to capture the area corresponding to the gesture, that could be directly in front of the user and outside the media device. Another camera can be placed in front of the user to capture gestures performed by them between the device that is playing the media and the user.

A combination that is included within the voice input can be used as a trigger to instruct the media device to hold off until it has a selection of additional entities prior to carrying out an actual search. A choice of the first entity shown on the display of the device is made by the device. The device also receives voice input from a user. The device is able to detect a particular combination by processing the voice input. In response to detecting the conjunction the device will wait for a choice of at leastone additional entity. The search query is then constructed based on the combination as well as at least one other entity. The search query is transmitted to databases. In the response, a maximum of one identifier for one content item is obtained. At least one identifier is then generated for display to the user.

If the conjunction is a coordination one The media apparatus determines the kind of the conjunctive that is coordinating and identify the logical operator which is compatible with the type. The device generates a search string that includes the primary entity and each additional entity, separated by logical operators. If the conjunction is a subordinating conjunction, the media device determines a type of the subordinating conjunction and identifies a search parametercorresponding to the type of subordinating conjunction. A search string is generated that contains the search parameters that are identified as well as at least one additional entity and any other entities logically associated to the search parameter.

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