November 18, 2011 | by Andrew Kameka
Google has been granted a patent for its pattern gesture to unlock a phone. But Google, not satisfied with merely using facial recognition software for lock screens, also has plans to make gestures perform functions while the phone remains locked.
The United States Patent & Trademark Office granted Google a patent for its existing gesture unlock feature, but 9to5Google spotted that it also showed a feature for gestures to provide quick access to common functions. For instance, switching between songs requires the user to unlock their phone, go to the Music app, and tap the next song feature. Google proposes a system by which the user could perhaps swipe to the right and then up to go to the next track. Or if someone wants to see their calendar, swipe right, down, and back to see an agenda.
Just because Google has applied for the patent doesn’t mean that it will be used, but this could be an interesting feature to have built into Android. Google has always been a proponent in shortcuts, and gesture-based controls built into the lockscreen would add a number of potential timesavers to Android. We’ve already seen alternative apps like WidgetLocker and MagicLocker provide app or widget shortcuts directly into the lockscreen, but what Google proposes could be neater and provide more options.
Further reading of the document at the USPTO website shows that the system could display personal data, play media files, change volume, place a call, and other actions.