Apple is granted a patent for a web browser with video display history

Apple has been granted a patent (number 9,813,479) for a web browser with a  video display history. It involves, of course, Safari on macOS and iOS.

According to the patent, a web browser is configured to provide a video history display of videos that have been displayed in the browser, while excluding from the video history display representations of non-video pages. Safari stores information identifying videos embedded in web pages, including the source network location of the video, and video title, playback time, and representative image of the video (and optionally other attributes). 

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The representative image of the video is derived from a frame of the video, and excludes other content from the web page in which the video was embedded, such as text and graphics thereon. The video history display includes only representations of the embedded videos that were displayed in the browser, without including representations of non-video pages.

In the patent filing, Apple notes that studies have shown that at least one-half of Internet traffic is users watching videos on video streaming sites. Most users view videos in a web browser application, such as Safari. Existing web browsers are designed to access all types of web pages, and aren’t restricted to just viewing pages with videos embedded or linked therein. 

Web browsers typically provide a history display that shows or lists the web pages that the user has recently visited. The display includes typically all of the web pages the user visited, including both pages providing access to a video that the user viewed ("video pages") in the browser, as well as other web pages from blogs, news sites, commerce sites, and so forth that may have no video on the pages at all, but just text and/or graphics. 

If the user is looking for a specific recently watched video, the user must sift through all of the recently visited pages in the history display to locate that specific video page, and then from there reload the video page into the browser in order to view the video again. Apple says this is time consuming for the user, and doesn’t provide a mechanism for readily browsing only video pages and accessing previously viewed videos and wants a more elegant solution. 

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.