They won't do evil, but Googlers will patent human, normal day, people stuff like, say, how do you divide a restaurant check between four people. Yes, Google has applied for a patent for splitting the check, presumably for a mobile app. They pay people really good money at Google, and give them great perks.
In a filing made last year, but only recently having come to light, Google seems to have overpaid its engineering staff or, given them access to its patent lawyers while high:
A computer-implemented method for tracking payment transactions of a group of users, the method comprising: establishing a group including a plurality of users; maintaining a transaction record for the group including a plurality of payment transactions, each of the plurality of payment transactions involving at least one user of the group; maintaining a balance indicating an amount owed by a first user of the group to a second user of the group based on one or more of the plurality of payment transactions; and responsive to a settlement event, settling the balance by initiating a transfer of funds between the first user and the second user.
You can dig into the whole patent here. It really isn't that big of a read, but it is highly amusing. Because, it is about stuff like figuring out how to divide, subtract and add up numbers. Genius!
Okay, if you dig a little deeper, the patent seems to imply that there is some magic involved in having a multiple of users tracking their spending as part of a group. Yup, still makes no sense why this is patentable.
There are hi-larious examples of the genius of this patent courtesy of Todd Bishop at GeekWire.
Look, maybe they were drunk when they put in the application for the patent. Maybe they were under pressure. Maybe, they are all idiots or 12 years old and have never actually split a check. One thing is for sure: this patent madness has to STOP! This has everything to do with some people thinking they are being disruptive (new cool word that is used by techies to make themselves feel good about themselves) when all they are doing is coming up with an app to make ordering a pizza easier. It doesn't cure cancer, but it sounds so great when you think you are disrupting the traditional means of doing things.
Madness, I tell you. Madness.