Is America's national check-splitting nightmare almost over? A group of Google employees have applied for a patent on a process that essentially splits restaurant checks. The process seems to be destined for some sort of app or calculator and would help groups figure out expenses when taking a trip, planning an event, or, say, eating out at a restaurant. In an example from the patent application below, the check-splitting process still requires some brain function: you would have to enter different amounts for different people based on what they ordered. Obviously time will tell if this process proves useful, but in the meantime, everyone keep on arguing about how to split checks. (Or get a professional check-splitter, your call.) Below, examples from the patent application.
Splitting a Check at a Restaurant
As an example, assume that a group is created to track and manage the expenditures of four friends (Friends 1-4) while on vacation in Miami. While on vacation, one of the days only three of the friends (Friends 1-3) go eat lunch at a restaurant because Friend 4 is not hungry at the time. The bill for lunch is $60 and Friend 1 pays the bill using a mobile payment service available on his device 104. Friend 1 adds the lunch as an expenditure of the group. When the form is presented to Friend 1 for the lunch, Friend 1 indicates that the lunch should be allocated to Friends 1-3. The lunch is not allocated to Friend 4 because Friend 4 did not participate in the lunch. Further, Friend 1 provides the following amounts of allocation in the form: Friend 1 $25, Friend 2 $16, and Friend 3 $19. In this example, the amount of allocation for each friend is based on what each friend ordered during lunch.
Splitting a Check at a Bar
For example, continuing with the example of FIG. 4, assume that Users A-C have drinks at a bar and User B pays a bill of $45 for the drinks User B adds the payment transaction as an expenditure of the group and allocates $15 of the transaction to User A, $20 to User B, $10 to User C. In this example, the balance module 308 would update the individual balances of Users A-C to indicate that User B now owes $115 to User A ($130-$15) and User C owes $10 to User B ($0+$10).