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Microsoft 'Shopping assistant' patent could help you find Elmo, more time for the kids

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Microsoft's just been granted a patent entitled "Shopping assistant." The claims indicate a system that generates a route to a product based on user-defined criteria (i.e. quickest, cheapest, shortest distance,) it also indicates that certain real-time conditions from participating merchants, such as stock levels, could also help determine the route. Now we're no CSI, but sounds to us like someone got fed up pounding the Mall looking for the last Buzz Lightyear, and cooked up a system to help save folk from the same pain. The problem is, we're not sure we like the idea of Windows Shopping all that much either...

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