10 Weird Patents That Google Owns

Social Networking Updates by Comic Strips
The comic strip Google is proposing is not as detailed or colorful as this one, but could be just as entertaining. © John Richardson/Illustration Works/Corbis

Back in ancient times — in online social networking terms, that's about 2006 — it was really cool to post a text message on Facebook to inform all your friends that you were vacationing in Hawaii, starting a new job or getting a mole removed at the dermatologist's office. (OK, some people do share a little too much information.)

But now that we've all read countless status updates, that medium has gotten a little, well, mundane. That may be why Google in 2010 filed a patent for a technology called "Self-Creation of Comic Strips in Social Networks and Other Communications." The latter would allow a social network user to post a multipanel cartoon online across a variety of networks.

According to the patent application, a user would select a theme, and the software would offer a cartoon, plus a title and text which the user could alter to suit [source: Sampath]. Google, which was awarded the patent in 2013, hasn't yet marketed the comic-creating app [source: Frank].