Google traded the standard keyboard’s Caps Lock key for a Search key on the new CR-8 notebook released last week. If you ask us, it’s hard to say if this is a good move or not. Pressing the Search key opens a web search in a new tab, but pressing the Caps Lock key helps you express yourself more clearly.
Most agree, at least, that it is a radical move. Slate’s Christopher Beam dates the Caps Lock to 1878, when typewriters first got upper and lower case functions. The original PC designers kept the key around in order to trick people into thinking they were still using a typewriter, which is less scary than a computer. Now it seems the human brain has evolved beyond cases altogether, according to scholar of the future Virginia Montecino:
i see an overall simplification of text, in a world in which more people communicate in a written form than any previous generation, crossing boundaries of age, gender, nationality, geographic borders, ideologies.
Google, too, looks down its nose at cases. The keyboard is all lower case and the the CR-8 tutorial even has a laugh at poor Caps Lock’s expense:
If you really need Caps Lock so you can post an INSIGHTFUL COMMENT ON YOUTUBE, click the wrench, click Settings, and then go to the System setion to change the Modifier Key from a Search Key to a Caps Lock Key. Oh and for you power users, here’s a tip: Press Ctrl-Alt-? to display the keyboard shortcuts.
Don’t worry, Caps Lock. There’s a seat for you next to tractor feed paper up in technology heaven.
kstoeffel [at] observer.com | @kstoeffel