US20160378871A1 - Generating Search Results Using Current Software Application States - Google Patents

Generating Search Results Using Current Software Application States Download PDF

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US20160378871A1
US20160378871A1 US14/980,075 US201514980075A US2016378871A1 US 20160378871 A1 US20160378871 A1 US 20160378871A1 US 201514980075 A US201514980075 A US 201514980075A US 2016378871 A1 US2016378871 A1 US 2016378871A1
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app
app state
state
indication
current
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US14/980,075
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Joseph Nelson
Jason Hreha
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Samsung Electronics Co Ltd
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Quixey Inc
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    • GPHYSICS
    • G06COMPUTING; CALCULATING; COUNTING
    • G06FELECTRIC DIGITAL DATA PROCESSING
    • G06F16/00Information retrieval; Database structures therefor; File system structures therefor
    • G06F16/90Details of database functions independent of the retrieved data types
    • G06F16/903Querying
    • G06F16/9035Filtering based on additional data, e.g. user or group profiles
    • G06F17/30867
    • GPHYSICS
    • G06COMPUTING; CALCULATING; COUNTING
    • G06FELECTRIC DIGITAL DATA PROCESSING
    • G06F16/00Information retrieval; Database structures therefor; File system structures therefor
    • G06F16/20Information retrieval; Database structures therefor; File system structures therefor of structured data, e.g. relational data
    • G06F16/24Querying
    • G06F16/245Query processing
    • G06F16/2457Query processing with adaptation to user needs
    • G06F16/24575Query processing with adaptation to user needs using context
    • GPHYSICS
    • G06COMPUTING; CALCULATING; COUNTING
    • G06FELECTRIC DIGITAL DATA PROCESSING
    • G06F16/00Information retrieval; Database structures therefor; File system structures therefor
    • G06F16/20Information retrieval; Database structures therefor; File system structures therefor of structured data, e.g. relational data
    • G06F16/24Querying
    • G06F16/248Presentation of query results
    • GPHYSICS
    • G06COMPUTING; CALCULATING; COUNTING
    • G06FELECTRIC DIGITAL DATA PROCESSING
    • G06F16/00Information retrieval; Database structures therefor; File system structures therefor
    • G06F16/90Details of database functions independent of the retrieved data types
    • G06F16/95Retrieval from the web
    • G06F16/953Querying, e.g. by the use of web search engines
    • G06F16/9535Search customisation based on user profiles and personalisation
    • G06F17/3053
    • G06F17/30598
    • GPHYSICS
    • G06COMPUTING; CALCULATING; COUNTING
    • G06NCOMPUTER SYSTEMS BASED ON SPECIFIC COMPUTATIONAL MODELS
    • G06N20/00Machine learning
    • G06N99/005

Abstract

Techniques include receiving a search query and an indication of a current application (app) state of a software app executing on a user device from the device and identifying app state records based on the query and, e.g., the indication. In this example, each app state record includes an app access mechanism (AAM) and app state information (ASI). The AAM references a software app and indicates operations for the app to perform. The ASI describes an app state of the software app after performing the operations. In some examples, the techniques further include generating result scores for the identified app state records based on the indication and selecting one or more of the records based on the scores. The techniques also include selecting one or more AAMs from the identified (and, e.g., selected) app state records and transmitting the AAMs to the user device as search results.

Description

    CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION
  • This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application No. 62/183,527 filed Jun. 23, 2015, which is hereby incorporated by reference in its entirety.
  • TECHNICAL FIELD
  • This disclosure generally relates to the field of search, and more particularly to techniques for generating search results that correspond to states of software applications.
  • BACKGROUND
  • In recent years, the use of computers, smartphones, and other Internet-connected computing devices has grown significantly. Correspondingly, the number of software applications (apps) available for such devices has also grown. Today, many diverse software apps can be accessed on a number of different computing devices, including smartphones, personal computers, automobiles, and televisions. These software apps can include business driven apps, games, educational apps, news apps, shopping apps, messaging apps, media streaming apps, and social networking apps, as some examples. Because of the large number of software apps available today and the wide range of functionality they provide, computing device users often require the ability to search for and access specific software app functionality.
  • SUMMARY
  • In one example, a method includes receiving a search query from a user device, receiving an indication of a current application (app) state of a native app executing on the device from the device, and identifying one or more app state records based on the query and the indication. In this example, each app state record includes an app access mechanism (AAM) and app state information (ASI). The AAM references a native app and indicates one or more operations for the app to perform. The ASI describes an app state of the native app after the app has performed the operations. The method further includes selecting the one or more AAMs from the identified app state records and transmitting the selected AAMs to the user device.
  • In another example, a method includes receiving a search query from a user device, receiving an indication of a current app state of a native app executing on the device from the device, and identifying one or more app state records based on the query. In this example, each app state record includes an AAM and ASI. The AAM references a native app and indicates one or more operations for the app to perform. The ASI describes an app state of the native app after the app has performed the operations. The method further includes generating a result score for each of the identified app state records based on the indication and selecting one or more of the records based on the one or more result scores. The method also includes selecting the one or more AAMs from the selected app state records and transmitting the AAMs to the user device.
  • In another example, a system includes one or more computing devices configured to receive a search query from a user device, receive an indication of a current app state of a native app executing on the device from the device, and identify one or more app state records based on the query and the indication. In this example, each app state record includes an AAM and ASI. The AAM references a native app and indicates one or more operations for the app to perform. The ASI describes an app state of the native app after the app has performed the operations. The computing devices are further configured to select the one or more AAMs from the identified app state records and transmit the selected AAMs to the user device.
  • In another example, a system includes one or more computing devices configured to receive a search query from a user device, receive an indication of a current app state of a native app executing on the device from the device, and identify one or more app state records based on the query. In this example, each app state record includes an AAM and ASI. The AAM references a native app and indicates one or more operations for the app to perform. The ASI describes an app state of the native app after the app has performed the operations. The computing devices are further configured to generate a result score for each of the identified app state records based on the indication and select one or more of the records based on the one or more result scores. The computing devices are also configured to select the one or more AAMs from the selected app state records and transmit the AAMs to the user device.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS
  • The details of one or more examples are set forth in the accompanying drawings and the description below. Other features, objects, and advantages will be apparent from the description and drawings, and from the claims.
  • FIG. 1 illustrates an example environment that includes a search system, an application (app) state determination system, one or more user devices, and one or more data sources that communicate via a network.
  • FIG. 2 illustrates an example user device in communication with an example search system and an example app state determination system.
  • FIG. 3A is a functional block diagram of an example search system.
  • FIG. 3B is a functional block diagram of an example search module.
  • FIGS. 4A-4B are functional block diagrams of app state determination systems.
  • FIGS. 5A-5B illustrate example app state records.
  • FIGS. 6A-6H are flow diagrams that illustrate example methods for generating search results using a search query and an indication of a current app state at a search system.
  • FIGS. 7A-7B are flow diagrams that illustrate example methods for generating search results using a search query and an indication of a current app state at a user device.
  • FIGS. 8A-8C depict example graphical user interfaces (GUIs) that may be generated on a user device according to the present disclosure.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION
  • The figures and the following description relate to example implementations by way of illustration only. It should be noted that from the following discussion, alternative implementations of the structures and methods disclosed herein will be readily recognized as viable alternatives that may be employed without departing from the scope of this disclosure.
  • The present disclosure generally relates to the field of search, and, more particularly, to techniques for generating and displaying search results at a computing device based on a current application (app) state of a software app executing on the device. Using the techniques described herein may, in some examples, improve search query understanding and search result relevance. For example, the techniques include, while performing a search for app states of software apps based on a user's search query, using an app state of a software app executing on the user's device at the time of the search (e.g., the user's “current app state”) to improve relevance of search results that are responsive to the query. In particular, the techniques include using information associated with (e.g., displayed as part of) the current app state as a textual relevance feature, a category relevance feature, an entity relevance feature, and/or as a search result scoring feature, e.g., as part of a machine-learned relevance (MLR) model.
  • According to the disclosed techniques, initially, a user of a user device may interact with a so-called “native” app executing on the device. For example, the user may set the native app into a particular app state via the user's interaction. The app state of the native app displayed on the user device may be referred to herein as a “current app state.” While the user device (e.g., the native app) displays the current app state, the user may further cause the device to launch a search app (e.g., a native or web-based app that enables the user to perform searches on the device). As a result, the user device may launch and execute the search app while continuing to execute the current app state. For example, the user device may display a GUI of the launched search app, with the current app state displayed below, or in the background of, the GUI. The user may then input a search query (e.g., a text string) into a search field of the GUI and cause the user device to transmit the query and an indication of the current app state to a search system. The search system may receive the search query and the indication from the user device and generate search results that are responsive to (e.g., that provide the functionality described by) the query and are relevant to the current app state. For example, as described herein, the search results may each specify an app state of a native app that provides the function described by the search query and is relevant to the current app state, as specified by the indication, based on one or more of text relevance, entity relevance, and category relevance considerations. Additionally, or alternatively, the search system may generate the search results using one or more aspects of the current app state as a scoring feature, as also described herein.
  • The search system may transmit the search results to the user device. The user device may receive the search results from the search system and display the results to the user (e.g., as one or more user selectable links). The user may select one or more of the search results (e.g., the user selectable links). In some examples, upon the user selecting a particular search result (e.g., an associated user selectable link), the user device may launch the corresponding native app and set the app into an app state specified by the result. The user may then interact with the app state (e.g., preview or perform a function provided by the state). In other examples, upon the user selecting the search result, the user device may download and install the native app. In these examples, the user device may then launch the native app and set the app into the app state specified by the search result. In still other examples, upon the user selecting the search result, the user device may launch a web browser app and access a URL (e.g., corresponding to a web equivalent of the app state of the native app) specified by the result.
  • In this manner, the techniques described herein may improve search query understanding and search result relevance. As one example, the current app state of the native app executing on the user device may indicate the user's activity with respect to the app prior to and/or at the time of invoking the search app. For instance, the current app state may indicate whether, at the time of invoking the search app, the user was interacting with a main page of the native app, or a specific page of (e.g., an entry for a particular business, product, or service in) the app. As such, the current app state may indicate the user's need for functionality associated with the current app state. Moreover, the user invoking the search app after interacting with the current app state may further indicate the user's dissatisfaction with the functionality provided by the state. Accordingly, the current app state may serve as contextual data related to the user and the user's behavior (e.g., the user's intent, or need) with respect to the search query. By performing searches for app states of native apps using both the user's search query and the indication of the current app state as search parameters, the techniques may improve understanding of the query. Additionally, by identifying app states of native apps that are both responsive to (e.g., match) the search query and are relevant to the current app state (e.g., based on text, category, and/or entity considerations), the techniques may further enable generating search results that are more relevant to the query than those generated using the query alone.
  • FIG. 1 is a functional block diagram that illustrates an example environment including a search system 100, an app state determination system 108, one or more user devices 102, and one or more data sources 104 that communicate via a network 106. The network 106 through which the above-described systems and devices communicate may include any type of network, such as a local area network (LAN), a wide area network (WAN), and/or the Internet. As shown in FIG. 1, the search system 100 includes a search module 110, a search data store 112, and a result generation module 114, which are described in greater detail herein. As also shown, the app state determination system 108 includes an app state determination module 116 and an app state data store 118, which are also described in greater detail herein. In some examples, the app state determination system 108 may be a part of the search system 100, a part of another system or device, or a stand-alone system or device.
  • In the example of FIG. 1, the search system 100 receives a search query and an indication of a current app state from one of the user device(s) 102 and generates search results in response to receiving the query and the indication. Specifically, the search system 100 generates the search results based on the search query and the indication, as well as using information included in one or more app state records stored in the search data store 112. In this example, each app state record may specify an app state of a native app. The information included in the app state records may include one or more access mechanisms (AMs) that enable the user device(s) 102 to access the app states specified by the records. The search system 100 transmits the AMs included in the app state records to the user device 102 as the search results, as described herein. The information may also include app state information (ASI) (e.g., text) and other information (e.g., app state identifiers (IDs) and indications of categories, entities, and/or other data associated with the records), which the search system 100 may use to identify the app state records in the search data store 112, as also described herein. The search system 100 transmits the search results, including the AMs, to the user device 102, which displays the results to a user of the device 102 as one or more user selectable links that include the AMs.
  • In this disclosure, an app may refer to computer software that causes a computing device (e.g., one of the user device(s) 102) to perform a task. In some examples, an app may be referred to as a “program.” Example apps include word processing apps, spreadsheet apps, messaging apps, media streaming apps, social networking apps, and games. Apps can be executed on a variety of different computing devices, including mobile computing devices, such as smartphones, tablets, and wearable computing devices (e.g., smart headsets and/or smart watches). Apps can also be executed on other types of computing devices having other form factors, such as laptop computers, desktop computers, or other consumer electronic devices. In some examples, apps may be installed on a computing device prior to a user purchasing the device. In other examples, the user may download and install apps on the computing device after purchasing the device. A native app, as used herein, may refer to an app that is installed and executed on a user device 102. A web-based app, in turn, may refer to an app that is accessible from a user device 102 via a web browser app included on the device 102.
  • An AM, as used herein, may include any of a native app AM (hereinafter, “app AM,” or “AAM”), a web AM (hereinafter, “WAM”), and an app download address (ADA). As such, a user device 102 of the present disclosure may use an AM to access the functionality provided by a native or a web-based app. For example, a user of the user device 102 may select a user selectable link that includes the AM to access the functionality of the app.
  • An AAM may be a string that references a native app and indicates one or more operations for a user device 102 (e.g., the app) to perform. If a user of the user device 102 selects a user selectable link that includes the AAM, the device 102 may launch the native app and (e.g., cause the app to) perform the operations. In other words, the user selecting the user selectable link may cause the user device 102 to launch the native app and set the app into an app state (e.g., in which the app displays a GUI, or screen) that corresponds to the operations. As a result, the native app may be configured to display one or more products, services, or vendors, to the user, e.g., via a display device of the user device 102. In this manner, the AAM may specify the app state of the native app. The app state, in turn, may refer to the operations indicated by the AAM and/or the outcome of the native app performing the operations in response to the user selecting the user selectable link that includes the AAM.
  • A WAM may include a resource identifier that references a web resource (e.g., a page of a web-based app, or website). For example, the WAM may include a uniform resource locator (URL) (i.e., a web address) used with the hypertext transfer protocol (HTTP). If a user of a user device 102 selects a user selectable link that includes the WAM, the device 102 may launch a web browser app included on the device 102 and retrieve the web resource referenced by the resource identifier. Stated another way, if the user selects the user selectable link, the user device 102 may launch the web browser app and access an app state (e.g., a page) of a web-based app, or website, specified by the WAM. In some examples, a WAM included in an app state record with an AAM may specify an app state of a web-based app that is an equivalent of (e.g., analogous to) an app state of a native app specified by the AAM.
  • An ADA may specify a location (e.g., a digital distribution platform, such as Google Play® by Google Inc.) where a native app (e.g., a native app referenced by an AAM) may be downloaded. In some examples, an app state record may include an ADA with an AAM (and, e.g., a WAM). In these examples, the ADA may specify a location from which a native app referenced by the AAM may be downloaded.
  • In some examples, the search system 100 may transmit the search results, including the AMs, to the user device 102 with additional data. For example, the search system 100 may transmit link (e.g., text and/or image) data that the user device 102 may use to generate the user selectable links for the AMs included in the search results. Each user selectable link may include a portion of the link (e.g., text and/or image) data that the user of the user device 102 may select (e.g., touch, or “click on”). Each user selectable link may also be associated with one or more of the AMs included in the search results, such that when the user selects the link, the user device 102 launches a native or web-based app referenced by the corresponding AM(s) and causes the app to perform one or more operations indicated by the AM(s). The text and/or image data of the user selectable link may indicate the operations or function that the native or web-based app performs in response to selection of the link. For example, if the user selectable link is for a song in a native or web-based music player app, the text and/or image data may indicate that the user device 102 will launch the app and that the app will play the song when the user selects the link. In some examples, when the user selects the user selectable link, the user device 102 downloads a native app referenced by the corresponding AM(s) and installs the app on the device 102. Example user selectable links are described with reference to FIGS. 8A-8C.
  • As described herein, the search system 100 uses data (e.g., app state records) included in the search data store 112 to generate search results based on search queries and indications of current app states received from the user device(s) 102. The search data store 112 may include one or more databases, indices (e.g., inverted indices), tables, files, or other data structures that may be used to implement the techniques of this disclosure. In some examples, the search data store 112 may be included in one or more storage devices. The search data store 112 includes one or more app state records. Each app state record may include data related to a function of a native app and/or to an app state of the app resulting from the app performing the function. For example, each app state record may include, among other content, an app state ID, ASI, and one or more AMs. An app state ID of an app state record may uniquely identify the record among other app state records included in the search data store 112. ASI of an app state record may describe an app state into which an app is set according to one or more AMs included in the record. An AM (e.g., an AAM, or a WAM) of an app state record may include data (e.g., an alphanumeric string) that causes a user device 102 to launch a native or web-based app and perform a function associated with the app. In some examples, an AM of an app state record may include data (e.g., an ADA) that enables a user device 102 to download and install a native app on the device 102. Example app state records are described with reference to FIGS. 5A-5B.
  • As described herein, the search system 100 receives the search query and the indication of the current app state from the user device 102 and generates the search results based on the query and the indication. The search query may include text, numbers, and/or symbols (e.g., punctuation) entered into the user device 102 by the user. For example, the user may have entered the search query into a search field, or “search box,” of a search app included on the user device 102. The user may have entered the search query using a touchscreen keypad, a mechanical keypad, and/or via speech recognition techniques and transmitted the query to the search system 100 using the search app. In some examples, the search app may be a native app dedicated to search, or a more general app, such as a web browser app. The indication of the current app state may include text, numbers, and/or symbols (e.g., punctuation), as well as any machine-readable (e.g., binary) data used by the user device 102 (e.g., the search app) to represent the state (e.g., an app state ID, an AAM, and/or one or more operations associated with the state), as described herein. In some examples, the indication may include or reference any of terms (e.g., text), categories (e.g., types), entities, and/or other data associated with the current app state, as also described herein. In some instances, the search app may determine the current app state and transmit the indication to the search system 100 (e.g., with the search query).
  • In some examples, the user device 102 may transmit additional data to the search system 100 with the search query and the indication of the current app state. The search query, the indication, and the additional data may be referred to herein as a query wrapper. The additional data may include geo-location data associated with the user device 102, platform data for the device 102 (e.g., a type and/or a version of the device 102, an operating system (OS), and/or a web browser app of the device 102), an identity of the user (e.g., a username), partner specific data, and other data. The user device 102 may transmit the query wrapper to the search system 100, which may use the search query, the indication, and/or the additional data included in the wrapper to generate the search results and provide the results to the device 102.
  • To generate the search results, the search module 110 may identify one or more app state records included in the search data store 112 based on the search query and, e.g., the indication of the current app state. Initially, the search module 110 may analyze the search query. The search module 110 may then identify one or more app state records included in the search data store 112 based on the (e.g., analyzed) search query and, e.g., the indication. For example, the search module 110 may identify the app state records based on (e.g., text) matches between terms of the search query and terms of information included in the records. In some examples, the search module 110 may further identify the app state records based on matches between the indication (or, e.g., information generated using the indication) and information included in the records. The search module 110 may then process (e.g., score) the identified app state records. For example, the search module 110 may determine how well the identified app state records match the search query and, e.g., various aspects of the current app state, as specified by the indication. The search module 110 may then select one or more of the identified app state records that best match the search query and, e.g., various aspects of the current app state, and transmit indications of the selected records to the result generation module 114.
  • The result generation module 114 may identify the app state records selected by the search module 110 in the search data store 112 using the received indications. The result generation module 114 may then select one or more AMs (e.g., AAMs, WAMs, and/or ADAs) from the identified app state records. The result generation module 114 may transmit the selected AMs to the user device 102 as the search results. In some examples, the result generation module 114 may transmit additional data with the AMs to the user device 102. For example, as described herein, the search module 110 may generate result scores for the app state records from which the AMs are selected (e.g., using values of metrics associated with the persons, places, or things described in the records, various features of the search query, and, e.g., various features of the current app state as specified by the indication). As such, each AM may be associated with a result score that indicates a rank of the AM relative to the other AMs. In some examples, the result generation module 114 may transmit the result scores associated with the AMs to the user device 102 with the AMs. Additionally, or alternatively, the result generation module 114 may transmit link data and/or indications of user interaction distances associated with the AMs (e.g., with the corresponding app state records and app states specified by the records) to the user device 102, as also described herein.
  • The user device(s) 102 may be any computing devices capable of providing search queries and indications of current app states to the search system 100 (and, e.g., the app state determination system 108) and receiving search results from the search system 100. The user device(s) 102 may include any of smartphones, and tablet, laptop, or desktop computers. The user device(s) 102 may also include any computing devices having other form factors, e.g., computing devices included in vehicles, gaming devices, televisions, or other appliances (e.g., networked home automation devices and home appliances). The user device(s) 102 may use a variety of different operating systems or platforms. In instances where a user device 102 is a mobile device, the device 102 may operate using an OS such as ANDROID® by Google Inc., IOS® by Apple Inc., or WINDOWS PHONE® by Microsoft Corporation. In instances where the user device 102 is a laptop or desktop computing device, the device 102 may use an OS such as MICROSOFT WINDOWS® by Microsoft Corporation, MAC OS® by Apple Inc., or LINUX® (LINUX is the registered trademark of Linus Torvalds in the U.S. and other countries). The user device(s) 102 may interact with any of the systems 100, 108 using operating systems other than those described herein, whether presently available or developed in the future.
  • The user device(s) 102 can communicate with the search system 100 (and, e.g., the app state determination system 108) via the network 106. In general, the user device(s) 102 may communicate with any of the systems 100, 108 using any app that can transmit search queries and indications of current app states to the systems 100, 108 and receive search results from the search system 100. In some examples, the user device(s) 102 may include an app that is dedicated to interfacing with one or more of the systems 100, 108, such as an app dedicated to searches (e.g., a search app). In other examples, the user device(s) 102 may communicate with any of the systems 100, 108 using a more general app, such as a web browser app. An app included on a user device 102 to communicate with any of the systems 100, 108 may include a GUI with a search field, or “box,” into which users may enter search queries, e.g., using a touchscreen, physical keyboard, a speech-to-text program, or other form of user input available on the device 102. In some examples, the app may also be configured to determine (e.g., via a current app state determination module) current app states of native apps executing on the user device 102 and transmit indications of the states to one or more of the systems 100, 108.
  • The user device 102 may use a GUI of a search app, or a more general app, included on the device 102 to display search results to the user. The user device 102 may also use the GUI to receive search queries from the user and transmit the queries and indications of current app states to the search system 100 (and, e.g., the app state determination system 108). The GUI may display the search results to the user in a variety of different ways, depending on the information transmitted to the user device 102 from the search system 100. In examples where the search results include one or more AMs, the search system 100 may transmit the AMs to the user device 102 with result scores, link data, and/or other information (e.g., indications of user interaction distances) used to generate and display (e.g., rank) one or more user selectable links for the AMs. In some examples, the GUI may display the search results to the user as a list of the user selectable links, including text and/or image data. For example, the text and/or images data may include names of apps referenced by the AMs, descriptions of the AMs and/or operations indicated therein, and images associated with the apps, or app states thereof, specified by the AMs (e.g., app, or app state icons or “screens”). In some examples, the GUI may display the search results as the list of the user selectable links arranged under a search field into which the user has entered a search query. The GUI may arrange the user selectable links by result scores associated with the links, i.e., with the AMs for which the links are generated, or using other logic (e.g., based on user interaction distance). In some examples, the GUI may also group the user selectable links by the associated native apps (e.g., using native app headers).
  • The data source(s) 104 may be sources of data that the search system 100 may use to generate and/or update the search data store 112. For example, the search system 100 may use the data source(s) 104 to generate and/or update one or more databases, indices, tables, files, or other data structures included in the search data store 112. The search system 100 may generate new app state records and update existing app state records based on data retrieved from the data source(s) 104. For example, the search system 100 may include modules that generate new app state records and/or update existing app state records based on the data retrieved from the data source(s) 104. In some examples, some or all of the data included in the search data store 112 (e.g., one or more app state records) may be manually generated by a human operator.
  • The data source(s) 104 may include a variety of different data providers. For example, the data source(s) 104 may include data from app developers, such as app developer websites and data feeds provided by app developers. The data source(s) 104 may also include operators of digital distribution platforms configured to distribute apps to user devices 102. The data source(s) 104 may further include other websites, such as websites that include web logs (i.e., blogs), app reviews, or other data related to apps. Additionally, the data source(s) 104 may include social networking sites, such as “FACEBOOK®” by Facebook Inc. (e.g., Facebook posts) and “TWITTER®” by Twitter Inc. (e.g., text from tweets). The data source(s) 104 may also include online databases that include data related to movies, television programs, music, and restaurants. The data source(s) 104 may further include other types of data sources, which may have various types of content and update rates.
  • In some examples, the search system 100 may retrieve data from the data source(s) 104, including any type of data related to native app functionality and/or native app states. The search system 100 may then generate one or more app state records based on the data and store the records in the search data store 112. In other examples, some or all of the data included in the app state records (e.g., ASI) may be manually generated by a human operator. Additionally, in some examples, the data included in the app state records may be updated over time so that the search system 100 may provide up-to-date search results in response to user-specified search queries and indications of current app states received from the user device(s) 102.
  • In some examples, the search system 100 (e.g., the app state determination system 108, for example, as part of the app state determination module 116, as shown in FIG. 4B) may further include one or more of a term determination module, a category determination module, and an entity identification module. Each module may be configured to determine or identify one or more terms (e.g., text), categories (e.g., types), and/or entities that are associated with a current app state of a native app executing on a user device 102 based on an indication of the state received from the device 102. The term “entity,” as used herein, may generally refer to a noun (e.g., a person, animal, place, or thing). An entity may also include other parts of speech (e.g., verbs, adjectives, etc.). For example, an entity may correspond to a name of a business, product, service, media content, political organization/figure, public figure, destination, or any other suitable item of commerce which may be advertised in connection with an app. Each module may further include a corresponding data store. Each module may receive the indication of the current app state from the user device 102 and determine or identify one or more terms, categories, and/or entities associated with the state based on the indication and, e.g., data included in the corresponding data store. The data store may include one or more databases, indices (e.g., inverted indices), files, or other data structures storing the associated data.
  • FIG. 2 illustrates an example of one of the user device(s) 102 in communication with the search system 100 and app state determination system 108. Specifically, FIG. 2 depicts example interactions and data exchanged among the user device 102, search system 100, and app state determination system 108. As shown in FIG. 2, the user device 102 may transmit a query wrapper to the search system 100. The query wrapper may include a search query 130 (a text string), an indication of a current app state 132 of a native app (e.g., any of one or more native apps included on the user device 102) executing on the device 102, geo-location data, platform data, and/or other data (e.g., an IP address) associated with a user of the device 102, the device 102, and/or the query 130. For example, the user may have entered the search query 130 into a search field 117 of a GUI 115 of a search app 124 included on the user device 102. The user may have then submitted the search query 130 to the search system 100 (e.g., as part of the query wrapper) by selecting a search button 119 of the GUI 115. In this example, the user device 102 (e.g., the search app 124) may have determined the current app state of the native app executing on the device 102 and submitted the indication of the state 132 to the search system 100 (e.g., also as part of the query wrapper). For example, the user device 102 may have determined the current app state using a current app state determination module 128 included on the device 102 (e.g., as part of the search app 124). In some examples, the user device 102 may have determined the current app state prior to, during (e.g., in response to), or following the user entering and/or submitting the search query 130 as described herein. Upon receiving the query wrapper from the user device 102, the search system 100, e.g., using the app state determination system 108, may generate one or more search results 134 based on the search query 130 and the indication 132 included in the wrapper. As described herein, to generate the search results 134, the search system 100 may identify one or more app state records included in the search data store 112 using the search query 130 and, e.g., the indication 132. As also described herein, the search system 100 may further generate results scores for the identified app state records, e.g., based on the indication 132. The search system 100 may then transmit the search results 134 to the user device 102. As shown in FIG. 2, the search results 134 may include one or more AMs (e.g., AAMs, WAMs, and/or ADAs), result scores, link data, and/or other information (e.g., indications of user interaction distances associated with the AMs).
  • In the example of FIG. 2, upon receiving the search results 134 from the search system 100, the user device 102 may display the results 134 as one or more user selectable links. For example, the user device 102 may generate the user selectable links such that each link is associated with (e.g., includes) one or more of the AMs included in the search results 134. As described herein, each AM included in the search results 134 may specify a state of a native app (e.g., as in the case of an AAM), a state of a web-based app (e.g., as in the case of a WAM), or a location from which a native app may be downloaded (e.g., as in the case of an ADA). As a result, when the user of the user device 102 selects (e.g., touches, or clicks on) each user selectable link, the device 102 may launch the corresponding app (e.g., one of the native app(s) 126, or a web browser app 122 also included on the device 102) and set the app into an app state (e.g., a native app screen or GUI, or a web page) specified by the AM. Additionally, or alternatively, upon the user selecting the user selectable link, the user device 102 may download the corresponding native app from a location specified by the AM and install the app. The user device 102 may generate the user selectable links using the link data also included in the search results 134. For example, the link data may include any of text (e.g., describing a name of an app and/or an app state) and image data (e.g., an icon for the app, or app state). In this manner, the link data included in (e.g., used to generate) each user selectable link may describe the app and/or app state associated with the link. The user device 102 may further arrange (e.g., order, or rank) the user selectable links to display the links to the user based on the result scores also included in the search results 134. For example, the user device 102 may assign each user selectable link the result score associated with the app state record from which the one or more AMs included in the link were selected. The user device 102 may then order the user selectable links based on the result scores (e.g., display higher-ranking links higher in a list of user selectable links). Example search results 134 displayed to a user of a user device 102 as user selectable links are described with reference to FIGS. 8A-8C.
  • FIG. 3A illustrates an example search system 100. As described herein, the search system 100 generates search results 134 based on a search query 130 and an indication of a current app state 132 received from one of the user device(s) 102 and data included in the search data store 112. Specifically, the search module 110 identifies one or more app state records included in the search data store 112 based on the search query 130, and, e.g., the indication 132. The search module 110 then ranks (e.g., generates result scores for) the records, e.g., also based on the indication 132. For example, the search module 110 may identify and/or rank the app state records based on the indication 132 using the app state determination system 108, as described herein. The search module 110 then transmits one or more app state IDs 136 that identify the identified and ranked app state records to the result generation module 114. The result generation module 114 receives the app state IDs 136 from the search module 110, identifies the app state records in the search data store 112 using the IDs 136, and selects one or more AMs (e.g., AAMs, WAMs, and/or ADAs) from the records. The result generation module 114 then transmits the selected AMs to the user device 102 as the search results 134 (e.g., with result scores, link data, and/or other information).
  • In some examples, as shown in FIG. 3A, the search module 110 receives the indication of the current app state 132 from the user device 102 and identifies and/or the app state records based on the indication 132. In other examples, the app state determination module 116 and/or the app state data store 118 may perform some or all of the functions associated with receiving the indication 132 and identifying and/or ranking the app state records based on the indication 132. As one example, as also shown in FIG. 3A, the search module 110 may receive the indication 132 directly from the user device 102. In this example, the indication 132 may include or reference one or more of terms (e.g., text), categories (e.g., types), and/or entities associated with the current app state. The search module 110 may identify and/or rank the app state records based on the information (e.g., terms, categories, and/or entities) included in or referenced by the indication 132. In this example, the app state determination module 116 (e.g., using information included in the app state data store 118) may initially process (e.g., translate) the indication 132 such that the search module 110 is able to identify and/or rank the app state records in the manner described herein. As another example, as also shown, the app state determination module 116 may receive the indication 132 from the user device 102 and determine the terms, categories, and/or entities associated with the current app state based on the indication 132. For example, the app state determination module 116 may determine the terms, categories, and/or entities using data included in the search data store 112 (e.g., an app state record that specifies the current app state), the app state data store 118 (e.g., category and/or entity data), and/or another location. In this example, the app state determination module 116 may further transmit an indication of the terms, categories, and/or entities to the search module 110. The search module 110 may receive the indication from the app state determination module 116 and identify and/or rank the app state records based on the terms, categories, and/or entities. In some examples, the app state determination module 116 may also store the indication of the terms, categories, and/or entities in the app state data store 118, e.g., for later retrieval.
  • In the examples described above, each app state record included in the search data store 112 may indicate one or more terms (e.g., ASI), categories, and/or entities associated with the app state specified by the record, as described with reference to FIG. 5A. As such, the search module 110 may identify and/or rank the app state records based on one or more matches between the terms, categories, and/or entities included in, or determined based on, the indication 132, and the terms (e.g., ASI), categories, and/or entities indicated by the identified and/or ranked records, as described in greater detail with reference to FIG. 3B.
  • FIG. 3B illustrates an example search module 110. FIG. 3B also depicts an example search data store 112, app state determination module 116, and app state data store 118. The search module 110 of FIG. 3B includes a query analysis module 138, a consideration set generation module (hereinafter, “set generation module”) 140, and a consideration set processing module (hereinafter, “set processing module”) 142. The query analysis module 138 receives a search query 130 from one of the user device(s) 102 (e.g., as part of a query wrapper) and analyzes the query 130 (e.g., performs any of tokenization, filtering, stemming, synonymization, and stop word removal with respect to the query 130). The set generation module 140 identifies one or more app state records included in the search data store 112 based on the (e.g., analyzed) search query 130 and, e.g., based on an indication of a current app state 132 also received from the user device 102 (e.g., as part of the query wrapper). As shown in FIG. 3B, the set generation module 140 may receive the indication 132 via the app state determination module 116. As a specific example, the set generation module 140 may identify the app state records using the search query 130 and, e.g., the indication 132, as inputs to Lucene® information retrieval software developed by the Apache Software Foundation (hereinafter, “Lucene”). For example, the set generation module 140 may identify the app state records based on one or more (e.g., text) matches between one or more terms of the search query 130 and one or more terms of information (e.g., ASI and/or app state IDs) included in the records. In some examples, the set generation module 140 may further identify the app state records based on (e.g., text) matches between information (e.g., an indication of terms, categories, and/or entities) included in, or generated based on, the indication 132 and information (e.g., ASI, app state IDs, indications of categories, and/or indications of entities) included in the records. The identified app state records may be referred to herein as a “consideration set.” The set processing module 142 may process (e.g., score, or “rank,” and select a subset of) the consideration set (e.g., also based on the indication 132), select one or more app state IDs 136 that identify one or more of the app state records included in the set, and transmit the IDs 136 to the result generation module 114.
  • The information conveyed by the search results 134 may depend on how the set processing module 142 generates the result scores for the app state records of the consideration set. For example, for each app state record, the corresponding result score may be generated based on various features associated with the record, such as relevance of the app state of the native app specified by the record to the search query 130, popularity of the state, and/or other properties of the state, depending on the one or more parameters the set processing module 142 uses to score the app state records. The set processing module 142 may generate the result scores for the app state records in a variety of different ways. In some examples, the set processing module 142 generates a result score for an app state record based on one or more scoring features. The scoring features may be associated with the app state record, the search query 130, and/or other data. An app state record scoring feature (hereinafter, “record scoring feature”) may be based on any data associated with an app state record. For example, a record scoring feature may be based on any data included in ASI of an app state record. An example record scoring feature may be a popularity score (e.g., based on user ratings of a native app or a state of the app) associated with an app state record. A query scoring feature may include any data associated with the search query 130. For example, a query scoring feature may include any of a number of words in the search query 130, popularity of the query 130, and an expected frequency of the words in the query 130. A record-query scoring feature may include any data generated based on information associated with both an app state record and a search query 130 that resulted in identification of the record by the set generation module 140. For example, a record-query scoring feature may include any parameters that indicate how well terms of a search query 130 match terms of ASI (and/or an app state ID) of an app state record identified using the query 130. In some examples, as described herein, the set processing module 142 may generate a result score for an app state record based on an indication of a current app state 132 of a native app executing on a user device 102. In these examples, a “current app state” scoring feature may include one or more terms, categories, and/or entities associated with the current app state. As one example, a current app state scoring feature may include any parameters that indicate how well the terms associated with the current app state (e.g., included in, or generated based on, the indication 132) match terms of ASI (and/or an app state ID) of an app state record identified using the search query 130. As another example, a current app state scoring feature may include any parameters that indicate whether the categories associated with the current app state (e.g., included in, or generated based on, the indication 132) match one or more categories indicated by an app state record identified using the search query 130. As still another example, a current app state scoring feature may include any parameters that indicate whether the entities associated with the current app state (e.g., included in, or generated based on, the indication 132) match one or more entities indicated by an app state record identified using the search query 130. In general, the set processing module 142 may generate a result score for an app state record using the record, query, record-query, current app state, and/or any other scoring features.
  • In some examples, to generate the result scores for the app state records of the consideration set, the set processing module 142 may include one or more machine-learned models (e.g., a supervised learning model, for example, including regression) configured to receive one or more of the record, query, record-query, and/or current app state scoring features. For example, the set processing module 142 may pair the search query 130 with each app state record and calculate a vector of features for each (query, record) pair. The vector of features may include one or more record, query, record-query, and/or current app state scoring features. The set processing module 142 may then input the vector of features into a machine-learned relevance (MLR) model to calculate a result score for the app state record (e.g., simultaneously based on the features). In some examples, the MLR model may include a set of (e.g., gradient-boosted) decision trees. In other examples, the MLR model may be trained by a simple form of logistic regression. In still other examples, the machine-learned task described herein can be framed as a semi-supervised learning task, where a minority of training data is labeled with human-curated result scores and the rest of the data is used without such labels.
  • As described herein, the result scores associated with the app state records (e.g., the AMs included therein) may be used in various different ways. In some examples, the result scores may be used to rank (e.g., order) the AMs in a list. In these examples, a higher result score may indicate that the corresponding AM (e.g., an AAM specifying a state of a native app) is more relevant to the user than an AM (e.g., an AAM specifying a state of another native app) having a smaller result score. In examples where the search results 134 are displayed as a list of user selectable links on the user device 102, the links including AMs associated with larger result scores may be listed closer to the top of the list (e.g., near the top of the screen). In these examples, links including AMs having lower result scores may be located farther down the list (e.g., off screen) and may be accessed by scrolling down the screen of the user device 102.
  • FIGS. 4A-4B illustrate example app state determination systems 108. The app state determination systems 108 of FIGS. 4A-4B each receive an indication of a current app state 132 from one of the user device(s) 102 and transmit any of a variety of types of information to the search system 100 (e.g., the set generation module 140 and/or the set processing module 142) in response to receiving the indication 132. As one example, as shown in FIG. 4A, the app state determination system 108 may receive the indication 132, including one or more terms, categories, and/or entities associated with the current app state, from the user device 102, process (e.g., translate, or format) the indication 132, and transmit the processed indication 144 to the search system 100. The search system 100 (e.g., the set generation module 140 and/or the set processing module 142) may identify and/or rank one or more app state records included in the search data store 112 based on the processed indication 144, as described herein. For example, the app state determination module 116 may be configured to format (e.g., translate) the terms, categories, and/or entities included in the indication of the current app state 132 (e.g., using information included in the app state data store 118) such that the search system 100 is able to match the terms, categories, and/or entities with information included in the app state records.
  • As another example, as shown in FIG. 4B, the app state determination system 108 may receive the indication of the current app state 132 from the user device 102, determine the terms, categories, and/or entities associated with the current app state based on the indication 132 (e.g., using a term determination module 146, a category determination module 148, and/or an entity identification module 150), and transmit an indication of the terms, categories, and/or entities 152 to the search system 100. The search system 100 (e.g., the set generation module 140 and/or the set processing module 142) may identify and/or rank one or more app state records included in the search data store 112 based on the indication of the terms, categories, and/or entities 152, as described herein. For example, the app state determination system 108 may determine the terms, categories, and/or entities using data included in the search data store 112 (e.g., by accessing an app state record included in the store 112 that specifies the current app state), the app state data store 118 (e.g., by retrieving previously stored data), and/or another location (e.g., by accessing a web-equivalent of the current app state via the Internet).
  • In the examples described above, the search system 100 (e.g., the set generation module 140 and/or the set processing module 142) may identify and/or rank one or more app state records included in the search data store 112 based on one or more matches between the terms, categories, and/or entities associated with the current app state and information included in the records (e.g., ASI, app state IDs, indications of categories, and/or indications of entities associated with the records and/or the app states specified by the records). As one example, the set generation module 140 may identify the app state records based on (e.g., text) matches between the terms associated with the current app state and terms of ASI and/or an app state ID included in each record. As another example, the set processing module 142 may generate result scores for (e.g., rank) the app state records based on how well the terms associated with the current app state match the terms of the ASI and/or the app state ID included in each record. As another example, the set generation module 140 may identify the app state records based on (e.g., text) matches between the categories and/or entities associated with the current app state and indications of categories and/or entities included in each record. As still another example, the set processing module 142 may generate the result scores for the app state records based on whether the categories and/or entities associated with the current app state match the indications of categories and/or entities included in each record.
  • In still other examples, the app state determination system 108 may receive the indication of the current app state 132 from the user device 102 and generate one or more other scoring features using the indication 132 (e.g., using one or more other aspects of the current app state, such as image data, formatting data, and/or other information associated with the state), and transmit an indication of the scoring features to the search system 100. In these examples, the search system 100 (e.g., the set generation module 140) may identify one or more app state records included in the search data 112 store based on the search query 130 and generate one or more results scores for the identified records using the other scoring features.
  • In other examples, the app state determination system 108 may receive the indication of the current app state 132 from the user device 102 and forward the indication 132 to the search system 100 (e.g., the set generation module 140 and/or the set processing module 142) without modifying the indication 132 or generating additional data based on the indication 132. In still other examples, the search system 100 may receive the indication 132 from the user device 102 and identify and/or rank one or more app state records included in the search data store 112 based on the indication 132 without the use of the app state determination system 108.
  • FIGS. 5A-5B illustrate example app state records that may be included in the search data store 112. FIG. 5A illustrates a general example of an app state record 500A. The app state record 500A of FIG. 5A includes information related to (e.g., specifying) an app state of a native app. As shown in FIG. 5A, the app state record 500A includes an app state ID 502A that uniquely identifies the record 500A among other app state records included in the search data store 112. As further shown, the app state record 500A includes ASI (e.g., text) 504A that describes the app state specified by the record 500A. As also shown, the app state record 500A includes one or more AMs (e.g., AAMs, WAMs, and/or ADAs) 506A that enable a user device 102 to access the app state specified by the record 500A. As shown in FIG. 5A, the app state record 500A may also indicate one or more categories (e.g., types) 508A and/or entities 510A that are associated with the app state specified by the record 500A. For example, the categories 508A may include one or more terms (e.g., text) that describe the app state specified by the record 500A and/or the corresponding native app (e.g., describe one or more so-called “themes” associated with the app state or app, such as a general type of business, service, or product specified by the app state or app). The entities 510A, in turn, may include one or more terms (e.g., text) that describe one or more specific businesses, services, products, franchises, persons, locations, and/or any other suitable items of commerce referenced by the app state.
  • In some examples, the app state record 500A of FIG. 5A may also include information that describes values of one or more metrics associated with a person, place, or thing described in the record 500A. Example metrics include popularity of a place described in the app state record 500A and/or ratings (e.g., user ratings) of the place. For example, if the app state record 500A describes a song, a metric associated with the song may be based on popularity of the song and/or ratings (e.g., user ratings) of the song. The information included in the app state record 500A may also be based on measurements associated with the record 500A, such as how often the record 500A is retrieved during a search and how often user selectable links for the AMs 506A are selected by a user. The information may also indicate whether the app state record 500A includes an AAM for a default app state, or a deeper app state, of a native app.
  • FIG. 5B illustrates a specific example of an app state record 500B that specifies an app state of a native app “Yelp®” by Yelp Inc. (hereinafter, “Yelp”). The app state specified by the app state record 500B of FIG. 5B corresponds to an entry in Yelp for a particular “Amarin Thai Cuisine” restaurant located in Mountain View, Calif. As shown in FIG. 5B, the app state record 500B includes an app state ID “Yelp—Amarin Thai Cuisine, Mountain View, Calif.” 502B that uniquely identifies the record 500B among other app state records included in the search data store 112. In other examples, the app state ID 502B may be a numeric value, or have another (e.g., machine-readable) representation. As further shown, the app state record 500B includes ASI 504B that describes the app state specified by the record 500B, and which may be used to identify the record 500B in the search data store 112. For example, as described herein, the search system 100 may identify the app state record 500B in the search data store 112 based on matches between terms of a search query 130 received from a user device 102 and terms of the ASI 504B included in the record 500B. As also described herein, in some examples, the search system 100 may further identify the app state record 500B based on matches between terms (e.g., text) of a current app state received as part of an indication of the state 132 from the user device 102 (or generated based on the received indication 132) and terms of the ASI 504B. The ASI 504B describes a restaurant category, a description, user reviews, and/or any other information related to the Amarin Thai Cuisine restaurant associated with the app state specified by the app state record 500B. In some examples, the ASI 504B may also describe one or more functions provided by the app state, such as, e.g., “make restaurant reservations,” “read user reviews,” and “write user reviews.” As also shown, the app state record 500B includes one or more AMs (e.g., AAMs, WAMs, and/or ADAs) 506B that enable a user device 102 to access the app state specified by the record 500B. The app state record 500B of FIG. 5B also indicates one or more categories (e.g., types) 508B and entities 510B that are associated with the app state specified by the record 500B. As shown in FIG. 5B, the categories 508B include one or more terms that describe generally the app state (e.g., “food” and “Thai food”) and/or the corresponding native app (e.g., “restaurants”). As also shown, the entities 510B include one or more terms that describe specific businesses, services, products, franchises, persons, locations, and/or any other suitable items of commerce referenced by the app state (e.g., “Thai food,” “Amarin Thai Cuisine,” and “Amarin Thai Cuisine, Mountain View, Calif.”).
  • FIGS. 6A-6H are flow diagrams that illustrate example methods 600A-600H, respectively, for generating search results 134 at a search system 100 based on a search query 130 and an indication of a current app state 132 received from a user device 102. Specifically, FIGS. 6A and 6E illustrate example methods 600A, 600E for generating the search results 134, while FIGS. 6B-6D and 6F-6H illustrate examples of one or more particular aspects of the methods 600A, 600E. With reference to FIG. 6A, in block 602A, the search system 100 may initially receive a search query 130 specified by a user from a user device 102 (e.g., as part of a query wrapper). In some examples, the search system 100 (e.g., the query analysis module 138) may perform an analysis of the search query 130 (e.g., perform any of tokenization, filtering, stemming, synonymization, and stop word removal with respect to the query 130). In block 604A, the search system 100 may also receive an indication of a current app state 132 from the user device 102 (e.g., also as part of the query wrapper, or separately from the search query 130). As described herein, the indication 132 may specify a current app state of a native app (e.g., one of the native app(s) 126) executing on the user device 102. For example, as also described herein, the search system 100 may determine the current app state using any of textual, numerical, and/or machine-readable data, one or more AAMs, and/or one or more operations included in the indication 132 (e.g., using a version of the native app associated with the current app state). In some examples, the search system 100 may also receive other information from the user device 102 (e.g., as part of the query wrapper, or separately), such as user information and/or geo-location, platform, and IP address information associated with the user device 102.
  • In block 606A, the search system 100 (e.g., the set generation module 140) may identify a consideration set of one or more app state records included in the search data store 112 based on the (e.g., analyzed) search query 130 and based on the indication of the current app state 132. As described herein, each identified app state record may specify an app state of a native app. In particular, each identified app state record may include an AAM that references a native app and indicates one or more operations for the app to perform, and ASI that describes an app state of the app after the app has performed the operations. For example, the search system 100 may identify the app state records based on matches between terms of the search query 130 and terms of information (e.g., ASI and/or app state IDs) included in the records. As described with reference to FIGS. 6B-6D, the search system 100 may further identify the app state records based on matches between various aspects of (e.g., terms, categories, and/or entities) the current app state, as specified by the indication 132, and information (e.g., ASI, app state IDs, indications of categories, and/or indications of entities) included in the records.
  • To identify the app state records of the consideration set based on the indication of the current app state 132, the search system 100 (e.g., the set generation module 140) may use any of a variety of techniques. As one example, with reference to FIG. 6B, in block 602B, the search system 100 (e.g., the app state determination module 116) may initially determine one or more terms (e.g., text) associated with the current app state (e.g., displayed as part of the state) based on the indication 132. For example, the search system 100 may receive the terms as part of the indication 132, or retrieve the terms from another location (e.g., from an app state record corresponding to the current app state) using the indication 132 (e.g., using an app state ID of the corresponding app state record included in the indication 132). In block 604B, the search system 100 (e.g., the set generation module 140) may then identify the consideration set of app state records such that each record matches the search query 130, as described herein, and matches one or more of the determined terms. In these examples, the information (e.g., app state IDs, ASI, AMs, and/or other data) included in the app state records of the consideration set may be indexed using inverted indexing techniques, which may allow identifying the records by mapping terms of the search query 130 and the determined terms associated with the current app state to terms of the information. In a specific example, to identify the consideration set of app state records in the manner described herein, the search system 100 may use the search query 130 and the indication 132 (i.e., the determined terms associated with the current app state) as inputs to Lucene, and retrieve the consideration set of app state records as a result. In this manner, the search system 100 may identify the app state records of the consideration set using text-based relevance between the current app state and the identified records.
  • As another example, with reference to FIG. 6C, in block 602C, the search system 100 (e.g., the app state determination module 116) may initially determine one or more categories (e.g., types) associated with the current app state (e.g., with the native app associated with the state) based on the indication 132. For example, the categories may describe generally a business, service, or product associated with the current app state (e.g., with the native app associated with the state). For instance, the search system 100 may receive the categories as part of the indication 132, or determine the categories by matching one or more terms associated with the current app state, as specified by the indication 132, to one or more terms describing categories included in a category data store. In block 604C, the search system 100 (e.g., the set generation module 140) may then identify the consideration set of app state records such that each record matches the search query 130, as described herein, and indicates one or more of the determined categories. In this example, each app state record of the consideration set may indicate one or more categories associated with the app state specified by the record (e.g., as shown in FIG. 5A). The categories may describe generally a business, service, or product associated with the app state (e.g., with a native app associated with the state). In this manner, the search system 100 may identify the app state records of the consideration set using category matching between the current app state and the identified records.
  • As another example, with reference to FIG. 6D, in block 602D, the search system 100 (e.g., the app state determination module 116) may initially identify one or more entities associated with the current app state (e.g., one or more businesses, services, products, franchises, persons, locations, and/or any other suitable items of commerce referenced by the state) based on the indication 132. For example, the search system 100 may receive the entities as part of the indication 132, or identify the entities by matching one or more terms associated with the current app state, as specified by the indication 132, to one or more terms describing entities included in an entity data store. In block 604D, the search system 100 (e.g., the set generation module 140) may then identify the consideration set of app state records such that each record matches the search query, as described herein, and indicates one or more of the identified entities. In this example, each app state record of the consideration set may indicate one or more entities associated with the app state specified by the record (e.g., as also shown in FIG. 5A). The entities may correspond to one or more businesses, services, products, franchises, persons, locations, and/or any other suitable items of commerce referenced by the app state. In this manner, the search system 100 may identify the app state records of the consideration set using entity matching between the current app state and the identified records.
  • Referring back to FIG. 6A, the search system 100 (e.g., the set processing module 142) may process the consideration set. Specifically, in block 608A, the search system 100 may generate one or more result scores for the app state records included in the consideration set (e.g., generate a result score for each record). In block 610A, the search system 100 may then select one or more app state records from the consideration set based on the one or more result scores associated with the selected records (e.g., select one or more records having the highest, or largest, one or more scores). In block 612A, the search system 100 (e.g., the result generation module 114) may select one or more AMs from the selected app state records (e.g., select one or more AAMs, WAMs, and/or ADAs from each selected record). In some examples, the search system 100 may also select other information from the selected app state records, such as result scores and/or link data associated with the records. In block 614A, the search system 100 (e.g., the result generation module 114) may generate one or more search results 134 that include the selected AMs. For example, the search system 100 may generate the search results 134 such that each result 134 includes one or more AMs (and, e.g., other information) selected from each selected app state record. In block 616A, the search system 100 (e.g., the result generation module 114) may transmit the search results 134 to the user device 102.
  • With reference to FIG. 6E, block 602E of the method 600E is analogous to block 602A of the method 600A. In block 604E, the search system 100 (e.g., the set generation module 140) may identify a consideration set of one or more app state records included in the search data store 112 based on the (e.g., analyzed) search query 130, in a similar manner as described with reference to block 606A. Block 606E of the method 600E is analogous to block 604A of the method 600A. In block 608E, the search system 100 (e.g., the set processing module 142) may generate one or more result scores for the app state records included in the consideration set (e.g., generate a result score for each record) based on the indication of the current app state 132. For example, as described with reference to FIGS. 6F-6H, the search system 100 may generate the result scores for the app state records included in the consideration set based on matches between various aspects of (e.g., terms, categories, and/or entities) the current app state, as specified by the indication 132, and information (e.g., ASI, app state IDs, indications of categories, and/or indications of entities) included in the records.
  • As one example, with reference to FIG. 6F, block 602F of the method 600F is analogous of block 602B of the method 600B. In block 604F, the search system 100 (e.g., the set processing module 142) may generate the result scores for the app state records of the consideration set based on matches between the determined terms and information (e.g., app state IDs, ASI, AMs, and/or other data) included in the records. In a specific example, to rank the app state records in the manner described herein, the search system 100 may use the indication 132 (i.e., the determined terms associated with the current app state) as an input into an MLR model, and receive the result scores from the model as an output. In this manner, the search system 100 may rank the app state records of the consideration set using text-based features associated with the current app state and the identified records.
  • As another example, with reference to FIG. 6G, block 602G of the method 600G is analogous of block 602C of the method 600C. In block 604G, the search system 100 (e.g., the set processing module 142) may generate the result scores for the app state records of the consideration set based on matches between the determined categories and indications of categories included in the records. In this example, each app state record of the consideration set may indicate one or more categories associated with the app state specified by the record. In a specific example, to rank the app state records in the manner described herein, the search system 100 may use the indication 132 (i.e., the determined categories associated with the current app state) as an input into an MLR model, and receive the result scores from the model as an output. In this manner, the search system 100 may rank the app state records of the consideration set using category matching between the current app state and the identified records.
  • As another example, with reference to FIG. 6H, block 602H of the method 600H is analogous of block 602D of the method 600D. In block 604H, the search system 100 (e.g., the set processing module 142) may generate the result scores for the app state records of the consideration set based on matches between the identified entities and indications of entities included in the records. In this example, each app state record of the consideration set may indicate one or more entities associated with the app state specified by the record. In a specific example, to rank the app state records in the manner described herein, the search system 100 may use the indication 132 (i.e., the identified entities associated with the current app state) as an input into an MLR model, and receive the result scores from the model as an output. In this manner, the search system 100 may rank the app state records of the consideration set using entity matching between the current app state and the identified records.
  • Blocks 610E-616E are analogous to blocks 610A-616A of the method 600A.
  • In these examples, the indication of the current app state 132 may include one or more of textual data, numerical data, and machine-readable (e.g., binary) data that identifies and/or describes the state in some manner. For example, the indication 132 may include any of an app state ID of an app state record associated with the current app state (e.g., represented using textual and/or numerical data), a human-readable textual description of the state, and a machine-readable representation of the state. The search system 100 (e.g., the set processing module 142) may generate the result scores for the app state records of the consideration set based on one or more scoring features (e.g., record scoring features, query scoring features, and record-query scoring features) including a scoring feature associated with the current app state (e.g., a current app state scoring feature), as described herein. In other words, the search system 100 may generate the result scores for the app state records using the indication 132 (e.g., the textual, numerical, and/or machine-readable data) as a scoring feature, alone or in combination with one or more other scoring features. As also described herein, the search system 100 (e.g., the set processing module 142) may include one or more MLR models (e.g., supervised learning models) configured to receive the one or more scoring features, including the scoring feature associated with the current app state, and generate the result scores for the app state records of the consideration set using the scoring features. For example, as described herein, the search system 100 may pair the indication of the current app state 132 with each app state record of the consideration set and compute a vector of features for each (current app state, record) pair. The search system 100 may then input the vector of features into an MLR model to compute a result score for the corresponding app state record. As also described herein, the MLR model included in the search system 100 (e.g., the set processing module 142) may be created using training data (e.g., search queries 130, indications of current app states 132, and search results 134), some or all of which may be labeled with human-curated result scores. In this manner, the search system 100 may process (e.g., score) the app state records of the consideration set using an MLR model that takes into consideration the current app state as a scoring feature.
  • In additional examples (not shown), one or more terms (e.g., text) of the search query 130 may indicate or suggest the manner in which the user may interact with a native app (e.g., the native app associated with the current app state). Specifically, the search query 130 may indicate or suggest a function sought by the user by specifying the query 130. In these examples, the search system 100 (e.g., the set generation module 140) may identify the app state records of the consideration set based on these indications or suggestions. For example, the search system 100 may identify the consideration set of app state records based on matches between terms of the search query 130 that indicate or suggest a specific function desired by the user and terms (e.g., of ASI and/or app state IDs) that describe one or more functions associated with each record. In a specific example where the search query 130 includes the terms “random restaurant,” the search system 100 may identify an app state record included in the search data store 112 that specifies an app state of a native app that provides a function called “ShowRandomRestaurant” (e.g., via a “Show me a random restaurant” user selectable GUI element). In this manner, the search system 100 may identify the app state records of the consideration set using function matching between the search query 130 and the records.
  • FIG. 7A is a flow diagram that illustrates an example method 700A for generating search results 134 at a user device 102 based on a search query 130 received from a user and an indication of a current app state 132 of a native app executing on the device 102. As shown in FIG. 7A, in block 702A, the user device 102 may initially receive a search query 130 (e.g., a text string) from a user of the device 102. For example, the user device 102 may receive the search query 130 via a search app 124 executing on the device 102 (e.g., via a GUI of the app 124). In block 704A, the user device 102 may determine a current app state of a native app (e.g., any of the native app(s) 126) executing on the device 102. In some examples, the user device 102 may determine the current app state in response to receiving the search query 130 from the user. In other examples, the user device 102 may determine the current app state prior to receiving the search query 130 from the user (e.g., upon the user launching the search app 124 on the device 102). In still other examples, the user device 102 may determine the current app state after receiving the search query 130 from the user (e.g., upon the user selecting a search button of the GUI of the search app 124 that causes the device 102 to transmit the query 130 and an indication of the current app state 132 to the search system 100). In general, the user device 102 may determine the current app state in response to receiving any type of user input from the user. Additionally, or alternatively, the user device 102 may automatically determine the current app state during the course of operation of the device 102 (e.g., at predetermined time intervals). In some examples, the indication of the current app state 132 may be readily available to the user device 102 (e.g., accessible at a given memory location of the device 102, or via cloud storage). In other examples, the user device 102 may perform one or more operations to determine the current app state (e.g., poll the corresponding native app, OS 120, and/or other resources included on the device 102 or accessible via cloud storage) and generate the indication 132.
  • In block 706A, the user device 102 may transmit the search query 130 and the indication of the current app state 132 to the search system 100. For example, the user device 100 may transmit the search query 130 and indication 132 jointly (e.g., as part of the query wrapper), or separately. In some examples, the indication 132 may include textual, numerical, and/or machine-readable (e.g., binary) data that specifies (e.g., describes) the current app state. As a specific example, the indication 132 may include an app state ID that identifies an app state record included in the search data store 112 that specifies the current app state. In other examples, the indication 132 may include an AAM that specifies the current app state (e.g., references the corresponding native app and indicates one or more operations for the app to perform, which sets the app into the state). In a specific example where the user device 102 displays a GUI associated with an entry in Yelp for the restaurant “Amarin Thai Cuisine” located in Mountain View, Calif., the indication 132 may include the string “yelp:///biz/amarin-thai-cuisine-mountain-view.” The user device 102 may generate the AAM as part of determining the current app state (e.g., by interacting with the corresponding native app and/or the OS 120) or retrieve the AAM (e.g., from the corresponding app state record included in the search data store 112) after determining the current app state.
  • In some examples, the current app state may not have a corresponding AAM. For example, the native app associated with the current app state may not be configured to receive AAMs that specify app states of the app (e.g., that reference the app and indicate operations for the app to perform, which sets the app into the states). In these examples, the indication 132 may include one or more operations that, when performed by the native app, set the app into the current app state. For example, the operations may be represented as one or more text strings (e.g., instructions, or code) or in another form (e.g., using a machine-readable representation). In some examples, the operations may correspond to one or more user interactions with (e.g., user inputs to) the native app that led a user from a main app state (e.g., a home page) of the app to the current app state. In these examples, the user device 102 may determine the operations by recording (e.g., monitoring) the user interactions as they occur at the device 102.
  • In additional examples, the indication 132 may include a compressed version of the textual, numerical, and machine-readable data, AAMs, and/or operations described herein. In these examples, the search system 100 may receive the indication 132 and decompress (e.g., decode) the compressed information described therein to determine the current app state. In other examples, the indication 132 may include other data associated with the current app state that indicates the state to the search system 100 in some manner.
  • As described herein, upon receiving the indication of the current app state 132 from the user device 102, the search system 100 may determine the current app state based on the indication 132 (and, e.g., other data). In some examples, the search system 100 may directly determine the current app state using textual, numerical, and/or machine-readable data (e.g., an app state ID) included in the indication 132. In other examples, the search system 100 may determine the current app state based on an AAM included in the indication 132 (e.g., by setting a version of the native app associated with the state into the state using the AAM). In still other examples, the search system 100 may determine the current app state based on one or more operations included in the indication 132 (e.g., by inputting the operations into a version of the native app associated with the state until the app is set into the state). In some examples, the search system 100 may use the AAM and/or the operations as inputs into a version (e.g., a copy) of the native app associated with the current app state, or a virtual machine (VM) implementation (e.g., a model, or an emulation) of the app, either of which may execute on the system 100 and/or at a remote computing resource accessible by the system 100. Like the native app itself, these versions of the app may be capable of receiving the AAM as part of the indication 132 and being set into the current app state as a result. Additionally, or alternatively, these native app versions may be capable of receiving the operations as part of the indication 132 and recreating (e.g., “playing back”) the corresponding user interactions to elucidate (e.g., via introspection) the current app state. In other examples, the search system 100 may use the AAM and/or the operations as inputs into a state machine present on the system 100 and/or at a remote computing resource accessible by the system 100. The state machine may represent (e.g., include therein) one or more popular app states of native apps and/or user interactions in the apps (e.g., transitions among the app states). In these examples, the state machine may be capable of receiving the AAM and/or the operations as part of the indication 132 and being set into a state that corresponds to the current app state as a result.
  • In the example of FIG. 7A, the search system 100 may receive the search query 130 and the indication of the current app state 132 from the user device 102 and generate one or more search results 134 based on the query 130 and indication 132 (e.g., based on the current app state specified by, or determined using, the indication 132). As described herein, the search results 134 may include one or more AMs (e.g., AAMs, WAMs, and/or ADAs), result scores, and link (e.g., image and/or text) data. The search system 100 may then transmit the search results 134 to the user device 102. Accordingly, in block 708A, the user device 102 may receive the search results 134 from the search system 100 in response to transmitting the search query 130 and the indication 132 to the system 100. In block 710A, the user device 102 may display the search results 134 to the user as one or more user selectable links. In this example, each user selectable link may include one or more of the AMs (e.g., an AAM) included in the search results 134 and, e.g., the link data also received as part of the results 134. The user device 102 may further rank (e.g., order) the user selectable links using the associated result scores also received as part of the search results 134. As a result, the user device 102 may rank the user selectable links based on relevance of the search results 134 to the search query 130 and, e.g., various aspects of the current app state, as indicated by the result scores, as further described herein.
  • FIG. 7B is a flow diagram that illustrates an example method 700B for performing one or more actions in response to a user of a user device 102 interacting with search results 132 displayed to the user on the device 102. As shown in FIG. 7B, in block 702B, the user device 102 may initially determine (e.g., detect) that the user has selected one of the user selectable links displayed to the user as described with reference to FIG. 7A. In block 704B, in response to detecting the user selection, the user device 102 may determine whether to perform one or more of the following actions. As one example, as shown in block 706A, the user device 102 may launch a native app referenced by the selected user selectable link (e.g., by an AAM included in the link) and, as shown in block 708A, set the app into an app state specified by the link (e.g., by the AAM). As another example, as shown in blocks 710B and 712B, the user device 102 may download and install the native app (e.g., from a digital distribution platform using an ADA included in the user selectable link). In this example, upon downloading and installing the native app, the user device 102 may launch the app and set the app into the app state (e.g., using the AAM also included in the user selectable link), in a similar manner as described above. As still another example, as shown in block 714B, the user device 102 may launch a web browser app 122 included on the device 102 and, in block 716B, access a web-equivalent of the app state (e.g., using a WAM included in the user selectable link). For example, the user device 102 may perform any combination of the actions described above.
  • FIGS. 8A-8C illustrate example GUIs that may be generated on a user device 102 according to the present disclosure. In particular, the examples of FIGS. 8A-8C depict a user device 102 performing a search for app states of native apps based on a user-specified search query 130 and an indication of a current app state 132 of a native app executing on the device 102. In other examples, user device 102 may perform searches for native apps and/or other content (e.g., web sites, documents, and/or media files) based on the search query 130 and the indication 132. In the example of FIGS. 8A-8C, the current app state corresponds to a main (e.g., home) page of a native app “NFL Mobile” by NFL Enterprises LLC (hereinafter, “NFL mobile”). As shown in FIG. 8A, while the user device 102 displays the current app state, a user of the device 102 invokes (e.g., launches) a search app 124 by interacting with a GUI element 115A also displayed on the device 102. As shown in FIG. 8B, this user interaction results in the search app 124 being launched (or maximized) on the user device 102 and a GUI 115B of the app 124 being displayed over (e.g., overlaid with respect to) the current app state on the device 102. In other words, the user interaction results in the GUI 115B of the search app 124 being displayed on the user device 102 with the current app state continuing to execute on the device 102 in the background. As also shown, the user enters a search query “Giants” 130 into the GUI 115B and further interacts with the GUI 115B to cause the search app 124 to transmit the query 130 and an indication of the current app state 132 to a search system 100. As shown in FIG. 8C, the user device 102 receives search results 134 from the search system 100 in response to transmitting the search query 130 and the indication 132 and displays the results 134 to the user as user selectable links 154-1 . . . 154-6. In the example of FIGS. 8A-8C, the search results 134 are both responsive to the search query 130 (i.e., the text string “Giants”) and relevant to various aspects (e.g., terms, categories, and/or entities) of the current app state depicted in FIG. 8A (i.e., the main page of NFL Mobile, which is a native app associated with the National Football League (NFL) and its teams). Specifically, the search results 134 correspond to app states, or entries, associated with the NFL team “The New York Giants” in NFL Now and the native app “New York Giants Mobile” by YinzCam Inc. (hereinafter, “New York Giants Mobile”). In some examples, the search results 134 may also be ranked by relevance to the search query 130 and/or to the various aspects (e.g., terms, categories, and/or entities) of the current app state.
  • As one example, the search system 100 may have generated the search results 134 by identifying one or more app state records included in the search state data store 112 based on matches between terms (e.g., text) associated with the current app state, as specified by the indication 132, and terms of information (e.g., ASI and/or app state IDs) included in each record. For example, the search system 100 may have identified one or more app state records that include some or all of the text (e.g., the text string “NFL”) displayed as part of the current app state. As another example, the search system 100 may have generated the search results 134 by identifying one or more app state records included in the search state data store 112 based on matches between one or more categories (e.g., types) associated with the current app state (e.g., with the native app associated with the state), as specified by the indication 132, and one or more categories associated with (e.g., specified in) each record. For example, the search system 100 may have initially determined the categories associated with the current app state based on the indication 132 (e.g., directly from the indication 132, or based on matches between terms associated with the current app state, as specified by the indication 132, and terms included in a category data store). The search system 100 may have then identified one or more app state records included in the search state data store 112 that are each associated with (e.g., that each specify) one or more of the determined categories (e.g., “football,” or “NFL”). As described herein, a category associated with a current app state may be a category that is associated with the state, specifically, or with a native app associated with the state, generally. As an example, a category associated with a current app state of NFL Now, such as an entry in NFL Now for “The New York Giants,” may be “The New York Giants,” specifically, or “NFL” or “football,” generally. Similarly, a category associated with (e.g., specified in) each of one or more of the identified app state records may be a category that is associated with the corresponding app state, specifically, or with the corresponding native app, generally. As still another example, the search system 100 may have generated the search results 134 by identifying one or more app state records included in the search state data store 112 based on matches between one or more entities (e.g., names of businesses, services, franchises, films, musical artists, and/or persons) associated with the current app state, as specified by the indication 132, and one or more entities associated with (e.g., specified in) each record. For example, the search system 100 may have initially identified the entities associated with the current app state based on the indication 132 (e.g., based on matches between terms associated with the current app state, as specified by the indication 132, and terms included in an entity data store). The search system 100 may have then identified one or more app state records included in the search state data store 112 that are each associated with (e.g., that each specify) one or more of the identified entities (e.g., “NFL”).
  • In still other examples, the search system 100 may have generated the search results 134 by further generating one or more result scores for the identified app state records using the indication of the current app state 132 as a scoring feature. For example, the search system 100 may have generated a result score for each identified app state record using various aspects (e.g., terms, categories, and/or entities) of the current app state, as specified by the indication 132, as a scoring feature input into an MLR model (e.g., also using any of the search query 130 and the record as one or more additional scoring features input into the same MLR model).
  • In the above-described examples, the search system 100 may have also identified the app state records in the search state data store 112 based on matches between terms (e.g., text) of the search query 130 and terms of information (e.g., ASI and/or app state IDs) included in each record. The search system 100 may have then generated one or more result scores for the identified app state records, as described herein, selected one or more (e.g., a subset) of the records based on the corresponding one or more result scores, and generated the search results 134 based on the selected records. As shown in FIG. 8C, the user device 102 may display the search results 134 as one or more user selectable links by ranking (e.g., ordering) the links based on the result scores associated with the corresponding selected app state records.
  • In some examples, the GUI element 115A and/or the GUI 115B of the search app 124 may be embedded in the native app (e.g., NFL Mobile) executing on the user device 102. In other words, in these examples, one or more GUIs associated with the search app 124 may be a part of the native app executing on the user device 102, rather than a part of a stand-alone search app 124. In these examples, instead of invoking a separate search app 124 while viewing the current app state on the user device 102, the user may interact with (e.g., enter search queries 130 into and submit the queries 130 via) a GUI that is displayed directly in the current app state.
  • In additional examples, the search system 100 may generate additional search results that include content that is not associated with app states of native apps (e.g., content related to apps, web sites, documents, and/or media files). In these examples, the search system 100 may identify one or more records (e.g., app records, or other data structures) stored in a data store that include the content based on the search query 130, in a similar manner as described above.
  • In further examples, the current app state may correspond to an app state (e.g., a web page) of a web-based app executing on the user device 102 (e.g., via the web browser app 122). In these examples, the search system 100 may generate search results that match both the search query 130, as described herein, and various aspects of the current app state (e.g., associated terms, categories, and/or entities), in a similar manner as described herein with reference to using an indication of a current app state 132 of a native app to generate search results 134.
  • The modules and data stores included in the search system 100 and app state determination system 108 represent features that may be included in these systems 100, 108 as they are described in the present disclosure. For example, the search module 110, search data store 112, and result generation module 114 may represent features included in the search system 100. Similarly, the app state determination module 116 and app state data store 118 may represent features included in the app state determination system 108. The modules and data stores described herein may be embodied by electronic hardware, software, and/or firmware components. Depiction of different features as separate modules and data stores does not necessarily imply whether the modules and data stores are embodied by common or separate electronic hardware, software, and/or firmware components. In some implementations, the features associated with the one or more modules and data stores depicted herein may be realized by common or separate electronic hardware, software, and/or firmware components.
  • The modules and data stores may be embodied by electronic hardware, software, and/or firmware components including, but not limited to, one or more processing units, memory components, input/output (I/O) components, and interconnect components. The interconnect components may be configured to provide communication between the processing units, memory components, and I/O components. For example, the interconnect components may include one or more buses configured to transfer data between electronic components. The interconnect components may also include control circuits (e.g., a memory controller and/or an I/O controller) configured to control communication between electronic components.
  • The processing units may include one or more central processing units (CPUs), graphics processing units (GPUs), digital signal processing units (DSPs), or other processing units. The processing units may be configured to communicate with the memory components and I/O components. For example, the processing units may be configured to communicate with the memory components and I/O components via the interconnect components.
  • A memory component, or memory, may include any volatile or non-volatile media. For example, the memory may include electrical media, magnetic media, and/or optical media, such as a random access memory (RAM), read-only memory (ROM), non-volatile RAM (NVRAM), electrically-erasable programmable ROM (EEPROM), Flash memory, solid state drives (SSDs), hard disk drives (HDDs), magnetic tape drives, optical storage technology (e.g., compact disc, digital versatile disc, and/or Blu-ray disc), and/or any other memory components.
  • The memory components may include (e.g., store) the data described herein. For example, the memory components may store the data included in the app state records of the search data store 112 and/or the data included in the app state data store 118. The memory components may also include instructions that may be executed by the processing units. For example, the memory components may include computer-readable instructions that, when executed by the processing units, cause the units to perform the various functions attributed to the modules and data stores described herein.
  • The I/O components may refer to electronic hardware, software, and/or firmware that provide communication with a variety of different devices. For example, the I/O components may provide communication between other devices and the processing units and memory components. In some examples, the I/O components may be configured to communicate with a computer network. For example, the I/O components may be configured to exchange data over a computer network using a variety of different physical connections, wireless connections, and protocols. The I/O components may include network interface components (e.g., a network interface controller), repeaters, network bridges, network switches, routers, and firewalls. In some examples, the I/O components may include hardware, software, and/or firmware configured to communicate with various human interface devices, including display screens, keyboards, pointer devices (e.g., a mouse), touchscreens, speakers, and microphones. In other examples, the I/O components may include hardware, software, and/or firmware configured to communicate with additional devices, such as external memory (e.g., external HDDs).
  • In some implementations, the search system 100 and/or app state determination system 108 may be a system of one or more computing devices (e.g., a computer search system) configured to implement the techniques described herein. Put another way, the features attributed to the modules and data stores described herein may be implemented by one or more computing devices. Each computing device may include any combination of electronic hardware, software, and/or firmware described herein. For example, each computing device may include any combination of the processing units, memory components, I/O components, and interconnect components described herein. The computing devices may also include various human interface devices, including display screens, keyboards, pointing devices (e.g., a mouse), touchscreens, speakers, and microphones. The computing devices may also be configured to communicate with additional devices, such as external memory (e.g., external HDDs).
  • The computing devices of the search system 100 and/or app state determination system 108 may be configured to communicate with the network 106. The computing devices may also be configured to communicate with one another via a computer network. In some examples, the computing devices may include one or more server computing devices configured to communicate with the user device(s) 102 (e.g., receive search queries 130 and indications of current app states 132, and transmit search results 134), gather data from the data source(s) 104, index the data, store the data, and store other documents. The computing devices may reside in a single machine or in multiple machines at a single geographic location, or be distributed across a number of geographic locations.
  • Additionally, the various implementations of the search system 100 and app state determination system 108 described herein (e.g., using one or more computing devices that include one or more processing units, memory components, I/O components, and interconnect components) are equally applicable to any of the user device(s) 102 and components thereof.

Claims (20)

What is claimed is:
1. A method comprising:
receiving a search query from a user device;
receiving an indication of a current application (app) state of a native app executing on the user device from the device;
identifying one or more app state records based on the search query and based on the indication, each app state record including an app access mechanism (AAM) and app state information (ASI), wherein the AAM references a native app and indicates one or more operations for the app to perform, and wherein the ASI describes an app state of the app after the app has performed the one or more operations;
selecting the one or more AAMs from the identified one or more app state records; and
transmitting the selected one or more AAMs to the user device.
2. The method of claim 1, wherein the indication of the current app state indicates one or more terms associated with the current app state, and wherein identifying the one or more app state records based on the indication comprises identifying each record based on one or more matches between the one or more terms associated with the current app state and one or more terms of the ASI included in the record.
3. The method of claim 1, wherein the indication of the current app state indicates one or more categories associated with the current app state, wherein each of the identified one or more app state records indicates one or more categories associated with the app state described by the ASI included in the record, and wherein identifying the one or more app state records based on the indication comprises identifying each record based on one or more matches between the one or more categories associated with the current app state and the one or more categories indicated by the record.
4. The method of claim 3, wherein the one or more categories associated with the current app state comprise one or more categories associated with the native app executing on the user device.
5. The method of claim 3, wherein the one or more categories indicated by at least one of the identified one or more app state records comprise one or more categories associated with the native app referenced by the AAM included in the record.
6. The method of claim 3, wherein the indication of the current app state indicates one or more terms associated with the current app state, the method further comprising identifying the one or more categories associated with the current app state based on one or more matches between the one or more terms associated with the current app state and one or more terms included in a category data store.
7. The method of claim 1, wherein the indication of the current app state indicates one or more entities associated with the current app state, wherein each of the identified one or more app state records indicates one or more entities associated with the app state described by the ASI included in the record, and wherein identifying the one or more app state records based on the indication comprises identifying each record based on one or more matches between the one or more entities associated with the current app state and the one or more entities indicated by the record.
8. The method of claim 7, wherein the indication of the current app state indicates one or more terms associated with the current app state, the method further comprising identifying the one or more entities associated with the current app state based on one or more matches between the one or more terms associated with the current app state and one or more terms included in an entity data store.
9. The method of claim 1, wherein identifying the one or more app state records based on the search query comprises identifying each record based on one or more matches between one or more terms of the search query and one or more terms of the ASI included in the record.
10. The method of claim 1, wherein the indication of the current app state comprises one or more of the following:
one or more of textual data, numerical data, and machine-readable data that describe the state;
an app state identifier (ID) included in an app state record that specifies the current app state, wherein the app state ID is configured to identify the app state record;
an AAM that references the native app executing on the user device and indicates one or more operations for the app to perform, and wherein the app performing the one or more operations sets the app into the current app state; and
an indication of one or more operations performed by a user of the user device with respect to the native app executing on the user device to set the app into the current app state.
11. The method of claim 1, wherein receiving the indication of the current app state comprises one of the following:
receiving the indication and determining the current app state using the indication and a version of the native app executing at a search system; and
receiving the indication and determining the current app state using the indication and a virtual machine (VM) version of the native app executing at a search system.
12. A method comprising:
receiving a search query from a user device;
receiving an indication of a current application (app) state of a native app executing on the user device from the device;
identifying one or more app state records based on the search query, each app state record including an app access mechanism (AAM) and app state information (ASI), wherein the AAM references a native app and indicates one or more operations for the app to perform, and wherein the ASI describes an app state of the app after the app has performed the one or more operations;
generating a result score for each of the identified one or more app state records based on the indication;
selecting one or more app state records from the identified one or more app state records based on the one or more result scores;
selecting the one or more AAMs from the selected one or more app state records; and
transmitting the selected one or more AAMs to the user device.
13. The method of claim 12, wherein the indication of the current app state indicates one or more terms associated with the current app state, and wherein generating the result score for each of the identified one or more app state records based on the indication comprises generating the result score based on one or more matches between the one or more terms associated with the current app state and one or more terms of the ASI included in the record.
14. The method of claim 12, wherein the indication of the current app state indicates one or more categories associated with the current app state, wherein each of the identified one or more app state records indicates one or more categories associated with the app state described by the ASI included in the record, and wherein generating the result score for each of the identified one or more app state records based on the indication comprises generating the result score based on one or more matches between the one or more categories associated with the current app state and the one or more categories indicated by the record.
15. method of claim 12, wherein the indication of the current app state indicates one or more entities associated with the current app state, wherein each of the identified one or more app state records indicates one or more entities associated with the app state described by the ASI included in the record, and wherein generating the result score for each of the identified one or more app state records based on the indication comprises generating the result score based on one or more matches between the one or more entities associated with the current app state and the one or more entities indicated by the record.
16. The method of claim 12, wherein generating the result score for each of the identified one or more app state records based on the indication comprises generating the result score using the current application state as a scoring feature input into a machine-learned relevance (MLR) model.
17. The method of claim 16, further comprising generating the result score for each of the identified one or more app state records using each of one or more of the search query and the record as a scoring feature input into the MLR model.
18. The method of claim 16, wherein the MLR model comprises one or more of a gradient-boosted decision tree and a logistic probability formula.
19. A system comprising one or more computing devices configured to:
receive a search query from a user device;
receive an indication of a current application (app) state of a native app executing on the user device from the device;
identify one or more app state records based on the search query and based on the indication, each app state record including an app access mechanism (AAM) and app state information (ASI), wherein the AAM references a native app and indicates one or more operations for the app to perform, and wherein the ASI describes an app state of the app after the app has performed the one or more operations;
select the one or more AAMs from the identified one or more app state records; and
transmit the selected one or more AAMs to the user device
20. A system comprising one or more computing devices configured to:
receive a search query from a user device;
receive an indication of a current application (app) state of a native app executing on the user device from the device;
identify one or more app state records based on the search query, each app state record including an app access mechanism (AAM) and app state information (ASI), wherein the AAM references a native app and indicates one or more operations for the app to perform, and wherein the ASI describes an app state of the app after the app has performed the one or more operations;
generate a result score for each of the identified one or more app state records based on the indication;
select one or more app state records from the identified one or more app state records based on the one or more result scores;
select the one or more AAMs from the selected one or more app state records; and
transmit the selected one or more AAMs to the user device.
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