10 Weird Patents That Google Owns

The Heart-hand Gesture
Taylor Swift makes her "heart" gesture at a performance on the Today show. Let's hope she won't get into trouble now that Google has patented it in connection with "liking" something via Google Glass. Rahav Segev/WireImage

Singer Taylor Swift may have popularized the gesture of using the hands to make the shape of a heart, but that hasn't stopped Google from trying to patent it. The company filed an application in 2011 titled "Hand Gestures to Signify What is Important," which seeks to lay claim to "a hand gesture forming an area bounded by two hands in a shape of a symbolic heart."

But unlike Swift, Google isn't intending that move to be used to signify affection for a celebrity boyfriend, whom you eventually will break up with and then excoriate in song lyrics. Instead, it wants wearers of its Google Glass device to be able to make the gesture at an object — say, a grande latte at Starbucks — in their head-mounted video camera's field of view and highlight it, capturing a snapshot of it. The Google Glass wearer could then use the device to post the picture on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter [sources: Gomez et al., Vincent].

Author's Note: 10 Weird Patents That Google Owns

I follow technology news pretty closely, and when I got this assignment I was aware of Google's push to develop exotic, game-changing gadgetry. But I have to say that once I started looking at the mountain of patents that the company has been filing, I was astonished by the sort of crazy stuff that the company's engineers and scientists have been dreaming up. It's almost as if they've been channeling Jules Verne, the 19th-century science fiction author who imagined submarines and space travel — ideas that probably seemed crazy at the time. It wouldn't surprise me if some of Google's more outlandish inventions someday are similarly commonplace.

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