Google has been granted a patent for a new system that can automatically hide movie and TV plot spoilers from social media users.
The system hinges on users regularly logging their progress through a TV series or movie, which could be achieved by linking the tool with streaming services like Netflix and Amazon's Fire TV, which already log the shows watched by a user and how far they are into each episode.
The filter system would be able to identify and then hide content containing spoilers that pop up on users' social media feed until they are up to date. The content would be obscured by default, but would be accessible if the user clicked through a 'possible spoiler' warning.
However, Google has been quick to warn consumers that this is not a guaranteed future product. A spokesman for the search engine giant said: "We hold patents on a variety of ideas, some of those ideas later mature into real products or services, some don't."
Google has also not specified how it would integrate the new system if it ever launches. Possible approaches would be to partner with social networks such as Facebook and Twitter, or simply applying it to the Google Chrome web browser.
Twitter and several of its third-party client apps already support the ability to mute keywords from a user's timeline due to the rise of catch-up and on-demand movie and TV streaming services.
Google received the patent from the US Patent Trademark Office on Tuesday.