Apple patent is for fast searching in a music sharing environment

Apple has been granted a patent (number 9,817,894) for “fast search in a music sharing environment.” It apparently involves iTunes Family Sharing and Apple Music with the goal of making searches faster for music data. 

In the patent filing, Apple notes that users may get frustrated with having to enter a query into a search engine every time she wants to search for a specific type of data such as music info. What’s more, the user may become frustrated with an amount of time waiting to receive a response. As a result, users may begin looking for an alternative search engine that delivers a faster search response for the specific type of data. Apple wants to address the issue.

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The patent involves a method of a fast-search server includes processing a character of a query of music data, referencing the character with a reverse index of a music database, determining that the character matches a data record of the music database using the reverse index and returning the data record of the music database prior to receiving all characters of the query of music data from a user. The reverse index may be created from a combination of letters appearing as a string in a data field of the music database. The method may include “pre-forking” the character of the query of music data along with other processes in the fast-search server to minimize concurrency issues and to minimize threading locks.

Of course, Apple files for — and is granted — lots of patents by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office. Many are for inventions that never see the light of day. However, you never can tell which ones will materialize in a real product.