Google Japan goes rogue with life-changing 1.65m keyboard • The Register

Google’s Japanese company seems to have ignored its semi-official “Don’t be Evil” motto by releasing plans for the Gboard Bar, a 1.65m (5.4ft) long QWERTY keyboard.

As the search giant explains, the DIY hardware has buttons laid out in a straight line “so you don’t have to look around”. And yes, it’s not even alphabetical, which may have helped find keys faster when the layout is longer than most desks are wide.

As someone who spends an inordinate amount of time using a keyboard for both work and play, I’ve racked my brains as to why this might possibly be a good idea.

Fortunately, while the accompanying video may seem sincere at first, it’s not meant to be taken seriously, despite Japan being a weird and wonderful place with many idiosyncratic tastes, keyboards included.

Youtube video

“The width is only 0.064mm, which makes it practical even on desks with stacked documents,” a proud engineer tells us.

“The prototype was about 2,400mm long, but we managed to make it more compact,” adds the narrator earnestly.

“With this keyboard, it’s really handy to know right away that the 16th letter from the left is a ‘G’,” says one user.

“I remember the length. About 9 inches from the left is ‘S,'” says another, helpfully pulling out a tape measure to demonstrate comfort.

The video goes so far as to suggest that pair programming on such a device doubles the speed of development, although I’d like to see how long it takes for a couple of programmers working on the Gboard to file for divorce.

Other recommended uses include tightrope walking, reaching for light switches, fishing something from under the couch, and a height gauge. According to Google, you can even install a bug-fixing module, which is a net attached to the end.

So no, Google Japan hasn’t really gotten out of hand (let’s hope), it’s just another concept from a company with too much time and money, like Stadia.

Unlike Stadia, however, Google has put the project on GitHub, so anyone with a 3D printer and a little circuit know-how can make the monstrosity themselves.

If you feel like it, remember to get in touch and show us how you used your Gboard.

The design of the “bar version” is based on a keyboard that also serves as a cup. Previous iterations all came out on April 1st. Still, we can’t wait to see the next project from Google’s most innovative entity. ® Google Japan goes rogue with life-changing 1.65m keyboard • The Register

Rick Schindler

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