Google wants to patent how to split a restaurant check

By George Chidi
Saturday, October 5, 2013 18:32 EDT
google plus icon
Google via AFP
  • Print Friendly and PDF
  • Email this page

Splitting a check after a big group meal can be a pain-in-the-neck problem. But is it a Google-level conundrum?

A handful of Google engineers appear to think so. According to a patent application made public Thursday, six New York-area Google employees want a patent on a method for “tracking and managing group expenditures.”

The patent application at times “reads like the plot for a Seinfeld episode,” opined Todd Bishop at GeekWire. The filing contains several hypothetical examples of the use of their method. “assume that Users A-C have drinks at a bar and User B pays a bill of $45 for the drinks User B adds the payment transaction as an expenditure of the group and allocates $15 of the transaction to User A, $20 to User B, $10 to User C. In this example, the balance module 308 would update the individual balances of Users A-C to indicate that User B now owes $115 to User A ($130-$15) and User C owes $10 to User B ($0+$10).”

No word on whether the patent will become the culinary equivalent of Google Glass — stare at your food hand enough and it will tell you how much you owe if you’re too drunk to do math.

But the patent application itself may be a serious-enough event for companies in the emerging mobile payment space like Square or PayPal to sit up and take notice.

By commenting, you agree to our terms of service
and to abide by our commenting policy.