Google may have stopped putting out dozens of April Fools’ videos every year, but Googlers in Japan still love a good joke – and the latest is ridiculous keyboard that they’re called Gboard Bar Version.

It’s a single-row keyboard with every key laid out end-to-end in a highly impractical way. It makes for plenty of good jokes packed into a short promo video. But possibly the best part of the joke? You can actually build your own if you want, because Google Japan has uploaded design files, firmware, and schematics to GitHub.

Of course, laying out all the letters, numbers, and special characters and function keys end-to-end results in a keyboard that’s ridiculously long. The whole thing measures 1.65 meters (about 5.4 feet) from end-to-end, making it too large to fit on some desks.

Typing is also likely to become a hunt-and-peck experience, as there’s no way you can position your hands in a position where your most frequently-used keys are always within reach without moving your arms.

But Google notes that GBoard Bar Version might be easier to use as a collaborative device if two or more people share a keyboard (and a brain, I imagine). It could also be used as a walking stick, balancing bar for walking tightropes, or to reach light switches without standing up from your desk.

I also chuckled when I saw the URL for the GBoard Bar Version landing page:

via Google Japan, @MishaalRahman and 9to5Google

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3 replies on “Google Japan designed a gigantic, single-row Gboard keyboard as a joke (but you can build one if you want)”

  1. Good to see they’re wasting time on memes while Gboard on iPhone is still awful.

    I switched to iPhone this year, and I can’t find any 3rd party keyboards that are useful. Gboard works very poorly compared to the Android version. The swipe recognition is bad, it consistently can’t recognize some of the most common words.
    And it frequently fails to reinstate itself as the chosen keyboard when iOS temporarily swaps back the stock keyboard for password fields (an unavoidable security feature on iOS).

    I just want a keyboard that has a number row, AND also has long-press shortcuts for punctuation.

    Nothing is nearly as good as the default Samsung keyboard on Android.

  2. I hear Google is trying to cut costs due to the economic downturn. Maybe they’ll take a look at the team behind the Gboard Bar Version…

  3. If they put graduation marks on it could actually be useful.
    Or if they packed it full of batteries and allowed it to charge devices it’s plugged into.
    Or if they put some level ampoules into it.
    Or if they just split it into two rows arranged more like piano keys.
    Or if they stuck a broom handle screw on one end.
    Alas they did none of these things.

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