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Google Applies for Check-Splitting Patent

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The internet’s leading search engine is trying to make life eating out a little easier.

Six New York-based Google employees have filed for a patent on a process that would make the dreaded splitting of the check at the end of a meal less painful. Essentially, the process they’ve created would be used as a calculator-like aid, or like Google’s live search option, diners may be able to simply type in “split this check” into the search bar and let Google do it’s thing.

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.

According to the patent (as seen above) the method being proposed would allow diners to send one another funds via the app, pay extra to cover tips, spot each other if a friend “forgets” their wallet, oh and setting a pay-me-back-by date, marking the end of your forgetful pals stiffing you. The method aims to help “tracking and managing group expenditures” because everyone knows things get mad confusing at a birthday dinner for 20. But diners would still still need to provide basic info to help the splitting process.

Until Google gets approval on this much needed patent you’ll have to keep on with the manual hand math. Although this thing would help customers understand who pays what, hopefully the patent can be implemented in restaurant point-of-sale systems, otherwise we’ll continue to drive our waiters crazy asking them to charge this much on this card and to pay this much in cash, but bring back the change.

H/T US Patent & Trademark Office

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Technology

New Gadget Calculates Tips, Splits the Bill, and Prevents You From Killing Your Dinner Mates

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As far as I’m concerned, splitting the check is the worst possible way to end a meal. It could be the absolute best, most flavorful food I’ve ever tasted, and I could be sharing it with dearly beloved friends and family members.  That won’t stop me from wanting to ram forks into my eye sockets after five minutes of passing the bill back and forth and arguing about how much of a tip would be “fair” for each person if Sarah spent $12 on a milkshake and everyone else just got water. So if you told me that there was an invention that not only calculated tips for me, but also allowed me to swipe my own credit card, split my own bill, and get me signed, sealed, and out the door in less time than it would normally take me to say “Check please,” I might just explode with joy.

Okay, that was an exaggeration. No explosions happened when I discovered the RAIL, a handy gadget developed by Washington-based startup Viableware, but there was definitely a gasp. And maybe an obscenity or two. The RAIL allows customers to pay their own bill without waiting for the server to bring their check, and it contains handy features that let you do all of the necessary number crunching with no muss, no fuss, and no eyeball stabbing. That’s a pretty big deal for the mathematically challenged among us. The devices are roughly $200 apiece, which makes them pricey but probably worth it for restaurants looking to maximize customer satisfaction. And hey, minimal calculation-induced frustration probably means bigger tips for servers. Success all around!

H/T + PicThx CNN