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Gmail Tap: Google Announces Morse Code Keyboard Alternative For April Fools Day (VIDEO)

The Huffington Post  |  By Posted: 04/ 1/2012 10:21 am Updated: 04/ 1/2012 2:14 pm

Gmail Tap

Perhaps you've had this problem: You're typing an email on your smartphone, and your finger hits the wrong key; you go to correct your mistake, and you hit the wrong key again. If only there was a way to get around the fat-finger curse.

Thanks to Google, now there is.

...April Fools!

The prank-happy web giant has released a video explaining a new joke app that introduces an alternative to the QWERTY keyboard on Android phones. It's a two-key typing interface called Google Tap, and it's based on Morse Code, the telegraph communication system consisting of combinations of dots and dashes that correspond to letters of the alphabet.


Developed sometime in the 1830s and 1840s, Morse Code revolutionized global communications. "For decades, telegrams were the fastest and most cost-efficient way to communicate, and organizations of every kind used them," writes the New York Times. "At one point, according to Amy Fischer, the company historian for Western Union, employees would attend major sporting events, sending play-by-play via a telegraph machine to an announcer at a radio station. 'The Yankee announcer would stay in New York and call the game from there,' she said."

Supplanted by new technologies, Morse Code has all but fallen out of use. The Times reports that Western Union's once-booming telegram service closed up shop on January 27, 2006, with the transmission of the company's last telegram. But Google has revived Morse Code for use in the digital age, at least for April Fools Day.

From a post on the Official Gmail Blog explaining the just-for-laughs typing tool:

Gmail Tap takes the keyboard from 26 keys to just two. Every letter of the alphabet is represented by a simple pattern of dots and dashes, and once you know them you can type without even looking at your screen. This makes it ideal for situations where you need to discreetly send emails, such as when you're on a date or in a meeting with your boss.


Google created an informational Gmail page that further explains Gmail Tap's features. The app includes a keyboard with a dot key, a dash key and a space bar; "re-imagined" autocomplete; an option for audio feedback; and (my personal favorite) a "dual threaded keyboard" that lets you compose two emails at once. Google warns that this last feature is for "power users only."


Google's even gone so far to create a "download" button that tells the user that demand for the app is too high and that it will be available again on April 2. Right.

Judging by the comments on the Gmail Google+ page, many users seem to think this is a pretty cool app. (All jokes aside, I too would really like to give this one a go. Well played, Google.)

Would you ever download a Morse Code keyboard for your phone, if one were available in real life? How does this prank compare to last year's hilarious Gmail Motion, Google's fake product that purportedly let users navigate the Gmail inbox using body motions.

Also on HuffPost:

By our count, Google pulled over a dozen panks for April Fools Day 2012. Take a look at the 7 funniest (below).
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  • The YouTube Collection

    <a href="" target="_hplink">With The YouTube Collection</a>, Google is offering "a whole new way to enjoy the videos you love." And by "whole new way," Google means having YouTube videos delivered on DVDs right to your door. And if that's not enough -- you'll also be able to get trending videos on laser disk as well as royalty-free audio on records. Ready to order hundreds of thousands of DVDs for home delivery? <a href="" target="_hplink">Click here</a>.

  • Google Street Roo

    Google announced on April 1 its intention to gather images of 98% of the Australian outback using cameras mounted to the heads of Big Red kangaroos. <a href="" target="_hplink">From the Google Australia Blog</a>: <blockquote>Over the next four weeks, more than a thousand Big Red kangaroos will be equipped with a 360-degree head camera that will automatically capture images when the marsupial is on the move during daylight hours.</blockquote>

  • Google Racing

    Google announced on late on March 31 that <a href="" target="_hplink">it's formed a partnership with NASCAR</a> and will have self-driving race car "<a href="" target="_hplink">entered in competition</a> by the middle of next season." This one doesn't seem too out-of-this-world, as Google has been working on self-driving vehicles for some time now. For more, <a href="" target="_hplink">check out Google Racing</a> and then head over to NASCAR <a href="" target="_hplink">to watch the video of the "announcement."</a>

  • Chrome Multitask Mode

    Be twice as productive on the internet with <a href="" target="_hplink">Chrome's new Multitask Mode</a>. "Welcome to the ambinavigation revolution," says Google.

  • Gmail Tap

    Google <a href="" target="_hplink">is now offering Gmail Tap, a replacement</a> for those pesky full QWERTY keyboards on mobile devices. "Gmail tap replaces the default keybaord in the gmail app with on that only has two buttons," Reed Morse (<a href="" target="_hplink">an actual Google employee?!</a>) who says in the video that Samuel B. Morse, the co-inventor of Morse Code, is his "great grandfather's, grandfather's brother." So instead of an alphabet, Gmail Tap users are given just two keys -- a dot and a dash -- and they can type every word in the alphabet using Morse Code. <a href="" target="_hplink">Click here to read more</a> about Gmail Tap.

  • Google Maps 8-Bit

    Google channels the 80s with <a href="" target="_hplink">Google Maps Quest</a>, an 8-Bit version of Google Maps. Fans of Dragon Warrior/Dragon Quest who miss the good 'ol days of NES gameplay will be excited to learn that Google will be offering cartridge versions of Google Maps Quest in the <a href="" target="_hplink">Google Store</a>.

  • Google Fiber

    Google announced in March 2011 that it had chosen Kansas City, Kansas, as <a href="" target="_hplink">the location of a new, super high-speed Fiber network</a> that will provide "Internet access more than 100 times faster than what most Americans have today." But the <a href="" target="_hplink">Google Fiber</a> of April 1, however, is not that kind of fiber. Instead, it's a "Fiberlicious" bar made from "just the right synthesis" of "psyllium and vitamins C and D." Says Google: "This smarter fiber delivers just what the body needs to sustain activity, energy and productivity up to 100 times more than you have experienced before." Ready for some Google Fiber? <a href="" target="_hplink">Click here to learn more</a>.


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