Google’s move heralds dawn of ‘signature interaction’

Restaurants are always on a mission to rustle one up, TV game shows spawned an entire genre of them, and you and me have a unique one.

Signatures — whether it’s dishes, tunes or handwritten monikers — are about to become the next big thing.

As Mashable’s Barb Dybwad reported yesterday, Google has successfully secured the US patent to its own signature interaction design — namely the search box and two buttons — after a five-year deliberation by the US Patent and Trademark Office.

There’s a degree of disquiet emanating from the blogs and comment pages of the bloggerati over Google’s move. But why should Google stand idly by while other brands — who simply didn’t get there first — mimic the interactive characteristics that were uniquely and brilliantly inventive at the time it launches?

The way in which users interact with Google’s search homepage is as distinctive as its rather bizarre visual identity; in fact it’s part of its identity.

So Google has every right to be justifiably proud of its distinctiveness. That’s why I applaud them for making the first move to protect their brand in this way.

And they won’t be the only ones to do it either. Patent offices worldwide will probably find themselves deluged with patent applications within a matter of weeks (if not days).

Coincidentally, I wrote a brief on behalf of a client about 3 weeks ago now, which has just been pitched to some fine digital creative agencies.

It sets them the task to deliver a ‘signature digital interactive experience’ for my client.

Strictly speaking it’s not a design brief; it’s a strategic goal for the brand.

I’m asking them to deliver something that has as distinctive personality as Google but something that is uniquely associated with my client.

That’s no mean feat. I know only too well from my time as an account director for TGI Friday’s in the UK how the obssessive pursuit of the signature ‘main’, which sets them apart from the me-toos, is as all-consuming as the anticipation of the diner tucking into the dish when its finally served up.

The trick is to hone your own digital signature and stand out in your own right; and not try to be just like Google.