Google+ could be getting a lot funnier, at least in theory, if the company follows through on the approach described in a new patent.
The U.S. Patent and Trademark office today awarded Google a patent on “Self-creation of comic strips in social networks and other communications.” In other words, Google has just patented the ability to create and share status updates in the form of comic strips. All told, it seems fairly straightforward: a user creates a comic about something that’s going on in their life, and then shares it with a social network.
At least as described in the patent (which was originally filed back in 2010), the process would allow users to share a comic between a number of different social networks, including Facebook.
If Google was ever to implement the tech described in this patent, it would certainly add another potential layer to correspondence. Just imagine: it could be possible to tell someone that you accidentally shredded their favorite tie by sending them a short, humorous comic, rather than a painful email.
Depending on what Google does with it, the patent could also be a bad sign for apps like Bitstrips, which has built a business around allowing users to post silly little comics to their social networks.
Still, it’s not clear just how bright the future really is for comic updates. As anyone who has had to suffer through a News Feed full of Bitstrips can tell you, cutesy comics are funny at first, but quickly get very old.