The inevitable has happened. Google has finally launched a patent search engine. You can check it out at http://www.google.com/patents
For long I had wished that Google gives a better patent search option, and it has finally happened. Complete with advanced search options including assignee, inventor, IPC classes, and date limitations it is gonna be one heck of a tool for prior art search. I hope it does normal language search more effectively than concept search on PatentCafe.
Though the jurisdiction coverage is currently limited to granted US patents only, I am sure it would not be long before it adds other major Patent Offices like EPO and WIPO to it and published applications/pre-grant publications.
I sure see some competition for us in the future and also for IP service providers like Thomson Scientific.
What I now want to see is a mashup which combines Google Patent Search and Google Spreadsheets & Docs. That would be so much fun!!
PS: The official post is at http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2006/12/now-you-can-search-for-us-patents.html.