A drawing of the "heart" gesture from Google's latest patent. (U.S. Patent and Trademark Office)
According to the patent filing, that action would then transmit to a "head-mounted display" (presumably Google Glass, the company's Internet-connected spectacles), which could interpret the gesture, capture an image and then "carry out a particular action in response," like sharing the image via social media.
The patent, vaguely titled "hand gestures to signify what is important," appears to pave the way for a model of Glass controlled by hand gestures instead of or in addition to verbal and touchpad commands. If acted upon, the technology could help Google live up to the futuristic expectations it's built for the glasses.
Current advertisements for Glass imply that the headset will offer a totally hands-free user experience. But many Glass tasks are still performed using swipes and touchpad interaction. The result, says Engadget, is "awkward." A gesture-based interface would help Google smooth the Glass user experience.
Though Google's patent has been approved, that's no guarantee the company will use it. Google didn't respond to a request for comment, so for now the future of these hand gestures and their interaction with Glass is open for speculation.
Perhaps the "heart" hand motion will merely complement Glass's extant interface, or function as a hook for a photo-to-product service like Amazon's phone app, Amazon Mobile, which lets you snap a picture of a product and then find it online. Or maybe Google will do nothing with the patent at all, and has filed with the U.S. Patent Office just to prevent other companies from patent trolling.
We'll have to wait and see -- and maybe "like" it when it comes.