Google’s continuing expansion has led it into the patent world. Google is offering a new service called Google Patents. It is a very powerful tool. You can search for patents using the standard Google interface or you can do an advanced search which allows you to search by inventor, assignee, filing date, issue date or classification. But the real power of Google Patents is the front page of each patent — you can see an example here. The page gives you all of the information from the front page of the patent (including links to the cited art), plus thumbnails of each drawing page and the text of the claims. Very impressive. If Google is taking over the world, at least they are doing a good job of it.