Google applies for browser tabs patent

Google has applied for a US patent on the way web browsers use tabs and bookmarks.

The application Tab Pages and Bookmark Toolbars In A Browser, published today, covers the Chrome feature whereby newly-opened tabs display thumbnails of frequently-viewed web pages pulled from the browser history. It also covers the way these new tabs display a bookmarks toolbar.

According to the application: “In a first embodiment, a method creates a new tab in a browser on a computing device. A new tab page is generated on the computing device. The new tab page includes navigation options customized to a user. The new tab page is displayed to the user in the new tab on the browser.”

It's a riveting read.

The inventors are listed as Chrome engineers Ben Goodger, Glen Murphy and Brian Rakowski.

It's not uncommon for companies, particularly in the US, to file patent applications on anything they think they might get away with. Such IP rights provide useful defences in inevitable squabbles over patents on fairly trivial product features.

Microsoft owns a selection of patents covering aspects of tabbed browsing and bookmarks, as do many others.