Google was awarded a patent for a project called “Self-creation of comic strips in social networks and other communications” yesterday. Google's software will facilitate the conversion and sharing of comic strips using multiple parties' online conversations on social networks.
The idea, similar to Bitstrips in terms of the social element, is detailed in Google's patent as a process that allows users to essentially turn pre-existing conversations, between at least two people, into a comic strip layout. This process can be initiated manually or automatically. Although, if anyone were to call it an innovative idea, think again. As Engadget points out, Apple and Microsoft have already released software based on the same basic idea as early as 1996; for example - Microsoft Comic Chat.
The key differentiator for Google's new idea is the shareable element of the comic strips produced, via email, IM or on a social network 'stream' or profile page. These digital comic strips can also be edited by other parties to broaden the life span of the 'story'. The user will be able to select an appropriate theme for the strip and give it a title.
Google also suggests that the system could be used for more serious communications, besides the obvious funny and jokey aspects. "Aside from humour, such comic strips are also usable for education, for instance in summarizing a real-time conversation between two political leaders as it is happening. By posting such a comic strip on a social network facility such as a social network blog or tweet, others may more readily follow the flow of the conversation than if it had been summarized in plain text."
Please note that all this information is only based on a patent, Google may have just filed it to shield from future patent suits, and we may never actually see the technology come to light.
What are your thoughts about seeing comic strips replacing posts and comments on your social media sites one day? Would you like a Bitstrips style system to be implemented in HEXUS comments as a natural extension to the emoticons we already support? Let us know in the comments below.