The Google Chrome Key
Back in 1995 something very odd happened. Microsoft released a new version of their operating system, jumping from version 3.x to version 95 which, as well as being a pretty innovative bit of version numbering, brought in a few other new things including the start menu. Now to get the start menu to work they pulled off an astonishing move and added a new key to computer keyboards, not just keyboards made by Microsoft (I am not even sure they did make them at the time) but keyboards made by all manufacturers. This key had a little windows advert on it and was called the Windows key. Quite how the competition regulators let this pass at the time and ever since is a mystery to me, but to this day if you go and buy a Logitech keyboard for your Ubuntu Linux desktop you will have a windows logo staring at you as you type like the eye of Sauron.
Keyboards without a windows key are few and far between. Here is a picture of one from ZaReason.
Todays announcement from Google that they are going to release an operating system may cause keyboard manufacturers to think about their little windows adverts a bit more carefully. Initially Google is targeting netbooks with integrated keyboards, presumably they won’t tolerate a windows logo on the keyboard. If and when the Chrome OS moves to a more desktop like platform will Google start pressing OEMs to add a Chrome key? Or will the key be neutralised to a more generic symbol that doesn’t advertise an operating system at all?