back to article Google Japan goes rogue with 5.4ft long keyboard

Google's Japan business appears to have ignored its semi-official "Don't be Evil" motto by publishing blueprints for the Gboard Bar, a 1.65m (5.4 feet) QWERTY keyboard. As the search giant explained, the DIY hardware has keys arranged in a straight line "so you don't have to look around." And yes, it's not even alphabetical, …

  1. Anonymous Coward

    Love it.

    Love it.

    Finally a keyboard that can be popped behind your ear just like a pencil!

    1. TeeCee Gold badge

      Re: Love it.

      Great. How's Noddy these days?

  2. bsdnazz

    The joy of Chindōgu

    1. that one in the corner Silver badge

      Official Home of the International Chindogu Society

      Not convinced though, many of these look like they've been dreamt up for this site. But it says "official" so who can argue.

      Although I could use #281, the Back Scratcher’s T-Shirt.

  3. Big_Boomer Silver badge

    October fools ;-)

    Up next, a keyboard in the shape of the infinity symbol (∞), one in classic shape of a cock & balls, and of course never ending MOEBIUS Strip keyboard. <LOL>

  4. Andy Non Silver badge

    When can I buy one?

    Take my money already.

  5. Mike 137 Silver badge

    Quite apart from the weird configuration

    Any kit that encourages or supports "pair programming" should be viewed with extreme doubt. The entire concept of two folks thrashing out what the code should do and how it should work while actually keying it in is fundamentally flawed, although I suppose it coincides with the current view of programming as "coding". By the time code is keyed in, the decisions as to algorithm and mechanism of the code should have all been made. In real engineering, design comes before implementation (ideally via a design proving stage).

  6. Mister Dubious

    Time? Or rate?

    The story subtitle speaks of doubling "development time," while the body text speaks of doubling "development speed." Seems to me that doing both at once would be quite an impressive feat...

    True story: A high executive at a previous employer once E-mailed a company-wide dispatch announcing the launch of a new system for filing expense reports. The improved system would, he said, "maximize response time." With talent like that in the exec suites, is it any wonder the company failed and vanished?

    1. Mike 16

      Re: Time? Or rate?

      A bit like the marketroid who was so proud to promise our products would have "nine fives" availability.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "maximize response time"

      Freudian slip. Any expense report system is designed to make users' life miserable - it needs to be cumbersome to use to discourage employee to file expenses, and once expenses are filed, it needs to be as slow as possible to approve and pay them. Usually, it has to have features like requiring users to modify filings many times before getting them approved - "Google Maps says there is an itinerary 500m shorter, please modify your filing" - "Please add emails from your whole hierarchy approving taxi use for a destination where no public transport service exists", and so on, so the poor lad just told the truth.

  7. b0llchit Silver badge

    Size matters

    The width is only 0.064mm, making it convenient...

    Well then, at 64 µm, it is at the order of the size of one hair.

    I'm sure it is a convenient keyboard invisible to the many. Especially to the ageing who need reading glasses and a large class of Asian descent with myopia.

    Now, where did I leave my keyboard...

    1. CrackedNoggin Bronze badge

      Re: Size matters

      In the video it's actually "The width is only 0.064m" => 6.4 cm.

      1. Nick Ryan Silver badge

        Re: Size matters

        Not only that, but the prototype was 1.4m long and they worked hard to shorten it to 1.6m long.

  8. DJV Silver badge

    Checks date...

    Nope, not April 1st...

    Does that mean they are actually SERIOUS?

    1. Aleph0

      Re: Checks date...

      It took me a while to notice that in Japanese date style, 4/10 is 01/4 in reverse.

      Also interesting that in the video for the cup-shaped keyboard, all the keys are kanjis for different kinds of fish...

  9. sarusa Silver badge

    'Don't be Evil'

    Honestly this seems like one of the least evil things Google has done in a while.

    And I'm surprised it doesn't come with a ruler marked on the finger rest, especially since it can be used as the stick for a bug catching net.

  10. Dr. Ellen

    This keyboard reminds me of the only movie Dr. Seuss scripted -- The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T. from 1953. (The significant part is at 1 minute.)

    1. PRR Silver badge

      > This keyboard reminds me of the only movie Dr. Seuss scripted -- The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T.

      There is a better copy (different name but same film) here, keyboard at 1:22:

      Crazy Music (reprint)

      In this one you can see the difference between her dress and her boobs; all the color and focus is better.

  11. Francis Boyle

    Those super sleuths

    at NCIS are going to love this.

    1. Strahd Ivarius Silver badge

      Re: Those super sleuths

      very handy to "program" in VBA indeed!

  12. Sudosu Bronze badge

    What I would really like

    Is a piano\midi style keyboard that translates notes and chords into alpha numeric characters like a qwerty keyboard does today.

    That way, after a likely painful initial learning ramp up, I could aspire to become as proficient at playing music as I am at typing today, even while working.

    I'm not saying that typing would make anything that sounded like actual music, but having the practiced muscle memory for the notes and chords would be a huge benefit to playing music.

    Maybe it could provide the left and right hands access to the same content as they have on a qwerty keyboard without having too much hand travel.

    Takes off crazy idea guy hat...

    1. david 12 Silver badge

      Re: What I would really like

      U could aspire to become as proficient at playing music as I am at typing today, even while working.

      There out to be an xkcd for "there's an xkcd for that", but I haven't found it yet.

      1. Strahd Ivarius Silver badge

        Re: What I would really like

        did you use this tool?

      2. Dante Alighieri

        I protest?


        although technically this is closer in some respects

        or go really early for a self reference

    2. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

      Re: What I would really like

      Is a piano\midi style keyboard that translates notes and chords into alpha numeric characters like a qwerty keyboard does today.

      Take a look at these two articles for inspiration - plenty more like that with a bit of searching...

      Of the MIDI interface, you only need the MIDI In part of the hardware.

      I think the USB interface on the rPi B can't act as a USB HID module, but the Pi zero & pico can.

      Connect the 2 devices through I2C, and now some interfacing code on both modules will give you a MIDI to USB adapter... Connect a cheap MIDI keyboard, Drive the output according to the chord input, via a mapping table, and that will allow remapping easily.

    3. Sgt_Oddball

      Re: What I would really like

      I seem to recall they already exist... Used by divers as a text input method but with fewer large keys instead.

      But for regular use, you in theory could get 32 characters out just 5 keys or rather 5 bit. Using both hands you'd be able to get to 1024 but if you ignore the thumbs 256 is perfectly reasonable.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: What I would really like

        I was thinking similar, but had in mind the keyboards that court-room note-takers users

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: What I would really like

          Or the one handed chorded keyboard first demonstrated in 1968 by the man who invented the mouse?

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    For fucks sake

    did nobody notice the blocks on the desk in the picture. What is the number displayed?

    1. Nick Ryan Silver badge

      Re: For fucks sake

      The github page notes that the product was first "released" 1st April, that these are just the plans being released

  14. Chris Stephens

    Apple still has Google beat with its zero key keyboard

    1. Ramis101

      Ah, the macbook wheel. that was going through my mind too

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's a wind-up

    Similar to:

  16. Ball boy Silver badge

    Would have been impossible some years ago...

    Just imagine trying your daily Ctrl-Alt-Delete routine on this monster. Rebooting early Windows boxes was most certainly a regular office distraction but it never qualified as a team event - with one of these, however... :)

  17. VerySlowData
    Thumb Up

    useful for holding fabric

    When not coding or communing with the computers, could be very handy for sewing folk needing to hold fabric down while laying out patterns. personally i would use it for fishing out stuff stuck under shelves, cupboards, etc.

  18. notyetanotherid


    @Richard Currie, what I suspect you actually did was "racked" your brain.

    The verb rack comes from the mediaeval torture instrument and means to stretch and cause pain, whereas the verb wrack is an alternative form of "wreck", as in "wrack and ruin".

    A pet peeve that seems to have come into common usage is the spelling "nerve-wracking", when what they mean is "nerve-racking".

    Anyhow, thanks for posting ... it was worth watching the video as I needed a good laugh this morning!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Not Quite...

      Actually, the word Rack derives from the frames used to stretch cloth for drying, which was then used for the torture device, per the World Wide Words excellent writeup of the Rack/Wrack question (

  19. EricB123 Silver badge

    Super Toothbrush

    Back in the 90's, I was walking around Tokyo on my day off. I purchased a most magnificent toothbrush with bristles 180 degrees apart. I could brush the bottoms of both my top and bottom molars in ten seconds flat. Didn't seem to help with dental hygiene anywhere else though.

  20. Roger Kynaston


    If so it could double up as a boat hook for picking up buoys etc.

  21. that one in the corner Silver badge

    Hot swap key switches?

    For stress-free pair programming, it is important that both partners are comfortable.

    When you make your own copy of this innovative keyboard it will be vital to ensure that you use hot-swap key switches, so that they can be swapped between say, Gateron red and green between each line of code.

  22. Ian Johnston Silver badge

    Reminscent of the MacBook Wheel.

  23. Strahd Ivarius Silver badge

    This is what happens...

    ... when you ask youngster to drink more to save the country's finances!

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