By Mike Pomranz
Updated February 19, 2015
Credit: © moodboard / Alamy

The future of deodorant is…Google? Well, they have transformed so much of everything else we do, whether it be searching, email or making our glasses into an integrated computer. And now, they’re thinking people might be into wearing a high-tech device to keep us from smelling.

Now, don’t throw out your Speed Stick just yet. This concept is only in the patent phase; the government approved it last week, although it was originally submitted back in 2012. And like many patents, the product it envisions may never come to fruition. But the concept behind this “odor-removing device” is as intriguing as it is absurd.

Let’s start with the more sensible claims. According to Ad Age, Google’s device would include an activity sensor that could predict when you might begin to get a little smelly. From there, it would include an automatic fragrance emitter to combat your horrible stench. Getting a little spritz of perfume when you need it most sounds like a European tourist’s dream, but things get even crazier from there. According to diagrams included with the patent, the device would look like a small fan that could be attached discretely on the user’s clothing.

The Google device could also be enabled with wireless and GPS functionality—accessing your location and the location of those in your social network—allowing the user to avoid his or her friends when feeling particularly self-conscious. “In some cases, the device may learn that some of the user’s special contacts are in the same areas as the user…. However, to avoid subjecting the social contacts to the odor, the device may include a route-suggesting portion that can notify the user that his contacts are in the area,” the patent states, according to The Consumerist.

Yup, Google wants to help steer you clear of your friends when you stink—and will even give you the GPS directions to do it. It’s that age-old philosophical question: If you smell really bad, but no one’s around to smell you, are you still a social pariah?