A long-sought patent finally granted to Google yesterday suggests that the company is looking to save space on upcoming laptop models.
The patent lays out a laptop design in which the physical space bar is removed and replaced by an elongated trackpad. Sensors under the trackpad would determine whether users want to use the touch-sensitive surface as a space bar or a mouse, reports Quartz, which was first to spot the filing. A tap while typing will activate the space bar, and a tap while moving the mouse would result in a mouse click.
According to diagrams in the filing, the space bar could be distinguished from the rest of the trackpad by a slight line or ridge.
Though the reason for the redesign is ostensibly to produce smaller Chromebooks -- Google’s line of laptops that operate predominantly in the cloud -- the search giant told Quartz that “prospective product announcements should not necessarily be inferred from our patents.”
The patent was rejected twice over the last four years before being issued yesterday.