If Google gets to keep Patent 7,996,328 it will effectively own the postal service.
According to the abstract, Google has patented a service which helps customers buy from merchants. A shipper identifies a consignment using a shipment identifier. In the old days this was called addressing the envelope but just has a few modern electronic tags added.
The abstract goes on: “The broker uses the shipment identifier to obtain the status information for the shipment from the shipper. The broker analyses the status information in combination with other information to calculate an estimate of the time that the shipment will arrive at the customer’s address.”
So then the broker sends an electronic message, such as an email or text message, to the customer to tell them when the mail is going to show up. The customer can thus arrange for someone to be at the shipping address to receive the shipment at the estimated arrival time.
We will only really find out if Google is going to be successful with this patent if it uses it against another company. With the battle for the defence of Android, we suspect the outfit is looking for any weapon it can find.