Google was granted a patent for a "drag-and-drop" solution designed for mobile devices, as revealed by a set of documents that were recently published by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). The patent obtained by the Mountain View-based Internet company describes a significantly improved version of the rudimentary drag-and-drop functionality that's currently supported by the Android operating system. Google's new patent envisions an interface in which users who start dragging a selection or an item are presented with an overlay window that allows them to choose an app into which they want to drag their selection. The overlay window would feature smart suggestions that would change based on the type of an item that a user is trying to drag, e.g. dragging a music file would suggest music players, audio editing tools, and communications solutions, while dragging a phone number would quickly present the user with the option of opening their default dialer and simply dropping the selection into the app.
It's currently unclear whether the overlay window would also support the option of selecting any app installed on the device in case the item that's being dragged isn't instantly recognized by Google's algorithms. Regardless, the solution seems to be a rather convenient method of manipulating text, numbers, and files in Android that sounds more efficient than what Google's open source operating system is currently offering. With that said, the patent doesn't specify that the solution outlined above was specifically designed for Android devices, though Android seems like the only realistic mobile candidate for receiving such a feature in the future.
As with all patents granted to Google and other tech giants in the country, the sole fact that the Alphabet-owned company went through the trouble of patenting this particular solution doesn't necessarily mean this technology will ever be commercialized. Even if Google integrates the drag-and-drop feature into Android at some point in the future, such a functionality still wouldn't be able to accomplish much on its own if developers don't code their apps with it in mind. Regardless, an update on Google's latest patent might follow later this year.