MIT's Technology Review has a very interesting article on Google's enormous efforts to take out patents, Google's growing patent stockpile by Antonio Regalado.
As an example, back in May I posted on The Google Glass patents. I found 8 World patent applications containing the word "wearable".
Now there are no fewer than 15 Google World patent applications with the word "wearable" in the title. These include Wearable device with input and output structures, as illustrated below.
We are only a few days into December, but already there are 18 World patent applications, all published on the 5 December, as listed here. This is phenomenal, and as the article says the company looks like it will become one of the top patenting companies. There were 43 in all of November -- and 573 in all of 2013.
This compares with 743 by Microsoft for 2013, and 67 by Amazon.
As the article points out, the patent documents cover a wide variety of topics. Turning to the 1134 US utility patents granted to Google so far in 2013, we find such titles as Disambiguation of spoke proper names; System and method of identifying advertisement in images; Bicycle directions; and Inferring the gender of a face in an image, which is illustrated below.
Most are, however, to do with linguistic problems, as might be expected from a company which originally began searching text.