Google Designs Keyboard Without Space Bar


Google has patented a keyboard design without a dedicated space bar. It appears to be a way of saving space on smaller machines.

In the patent, spotted by Quartz, the spacebar would be removed. The trackpad would then be moved up to partially fill the gap, meaning a line’s worth of space could be taken off the bottom of the keyboard.

The design would effectively treat the trackpad as being in two sections. The part below the bottom line of keys would act as a normal trackpad, with a swipe moving the cursor and a press simulating a mouse click.

The top part, which extends into the bottom line of keys, would work contextually based on sensors detecting recent activity. If you are in the middle of typing, a click here would simulate a spacebar press. If you have instead just used the trackpad, a click here would be treated as a mouse button click.

Google first submitted a similar design in 2008, but it was rejected by the US Patent & Trademark Office twice. It then filed the current design in 2011, but it took until this week to win final approval.

There’s no guarantee Google will develop the technique and use it in a commercial product. It may simply be the case of coming up with an idea and patenting it as a matter of course.