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Google has been awarded a patent on a “System and method for targeting information based on message content in a reply,” which includes the company’s practice of serving up ads based on the contents of messages sent via the Gmail service.

msgoogleMicrosoft likes to use another word for this, criticizing the practice as part of its “Scroogled” campaign.

Google doesn’t address that criticism or use that word in the patent filing, but the company does take its own subtle jabs at Microsoft in the diagrams accompanying the patent — including one (below) implying that Microsoft Access database file pose a security risk, and another that suggests alternatives to Access next to a product search for the software.

Google filed for the patent in September 2010, long before Microsoft’s “Scroogled” campaign began. The patent was officially granted by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office yesterday.

MSACCESS1
Google patent diagram warning of a Microsoft Access security risk.
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