Quartz has reached out to Google to ask whether
the company would ever in a million years actually
manufacture a thing like this.
We will update this post with any response.
Many patents are never turned into products, and
this one feels particularly far-fetched (perhaps only
beaten to the prize for strangest wearable by Sony’s smart wig).
And while many patents are filed solely for protective reasons,
this innovation seems to solve a problem that few have ever felt
the need to solve. (It would be interesting to know whether the
patent writers often found themselves in this predicament, and
if so, whether they had considered instead just taking a shower
before heading outside.)
It’s strange to imagine that in its last days of independence,
the company behind the first flip-phone and one of the
best-selling mobile phones ever was concerning itself with
how we smell in public. Perhaps this is why Motorola is now
a distant fourth in US smartphone market share.
The first claim of Google's US 8,950,238:
1. A portable device comprising: a sensor operable to detect a physical activity of a user; an odor prediction portion in communication with the sensor and configured to generate an indication of predicted user odor based on detected physical activity of the user; a communication portion operable to access one or more social networks via a communication network, wherein the device is capable of communicating with a social network of contacts; and a route suggesting portion operable to provide a suggested route away from a set of defined persons within the social network of contacts responsive to the indication of the predicted user odor.