Isn’t it annoying when you want to click a link, but because of your clumsiness or because the link is positioned badly, you end up clicking something else? This isn’t a big deal since you can always hit the back button, but what if you clicked away from a form page and thus had to fill up the page again, or if a recommended link you wanted is no longer there after you went back? Amazon apparently understands your frustrations and has patented a technology called gravity-based links. As its name implies, this technology creates links on websites that have a gravitational pull for your mouse cursor, thus drawing your mouse to certain links on a website. In Amazon’s case we expect that these gravity-based links will include links such as add to cart, checkout now, purchase, as well as other recommended links that will ultimately add more books/items to your cart, and add to Amazon’s revenue.
While seemingly nefarious in nature, Amazon claims in the patent that these gravity-based links have potential to help those who are disabled or have poor motor skills, stating, “Some users may lack the fine motor skills desired to operate a variety of input mechanisms due to declining health, injury, etc.” Seems legit. Since this is a patent, there’s no telling if and when Amazon will implement such a technology, or if it will be relegated to the files stored at the USPTO and collect dust in the years to come. However if you are surfing Amazon’s website one day and find your mouse cursor being dragged towards certain links, well, you have your answer there.