10 Weird Patents That Google Owns

Virtual Assistant That Tweets and Posts on Facebook
With all those e-mails, text messages and social media posts to respond to, it sure would be helpful to have a virtual assistant, like Google has patented. © Michael Kappeler/dpa/Corbis

We all want to make an impression on online social networks by posting witty replies to other people's tweets and Facebook status updates. But let's face it, being clever and pithy is hard work, and continually coming up with suitably saucy digital bon mots can take so much effort that it becomes almost a full-time job.

Wouldn't it be so much easier if your computer or smartphone helped you out? Once again, Google seems eager to come to the rescue. In 2011, the company sought a patent for "Automated Generation of Suggestions for Personalized Reactions in a Social Network." The technology would look at others' postings, dig up related information about the topics, and then automatically suggest "personalized" responses to them, based upon the app's recollection of how you've responded to postings in the past

When the program wanted to make a post, it would notify you first and ask for your approval. That precaution would save you the embarrassment of having your electronic clone post a seemingly intimate birthday greeting to a Facebook friend that you barely know [source: Bhatia].