Caps lock key: An endangered species?

Caps lock key replaced with a search key on the new Google Chrome OS notebook. For caps lock key aficionados – and Internet trolls of all stripes – this is dire news indeed.

Caps lock key free: The new Google Chrome OS laptop includes a search key, but not a caps lock key key, pictured at left.

When was the last time you used your caps lock key? If all computer keys were celebrities, and the space bar was an A-list celebrity such as Will Smith, then the poor little caps lock key would be a C- or D-list personality – a former reality television star relegated to the back pages of the tabloids. We're not sure we'd miss you if you were gone, caps lock key, and we certainly don't blame Google for helping usher you out the door.

Not yet caught up on the Great Caps Lock Key Fiasco of 2010? Here's the gist: Google has just unveiled a new Chrome OS laptop. The machine does not include a caps lock key. Instead, it includes a search key. (Click here for photos.) In an interview with Business Insider, a Google employee said the caps lock key was omitted because "we expect this will improve the quality of comments across the web."

We agree. The death of a caps lock key sure would do a lot to improve the tone of the conversation on the Web. The trolls who mill around the comments sections of major news websites would lose one of their favorite weapons – "SHUT UP!!!!!!" would become, simply, "shut up!!!!!" And "SARAH PALIN FOREVER" would simply become "Sarah Palin forever." OK, so the lower-case version isn't that much easier on the eyes. Still!

We digress. Over at Tom's Hardware, Marcus Yam points out that the caps lock key may be gone, but the all-caps sentence will likely live forever. Proud owners of the new Google Chrome OS notebook, Yam writes, can always "click on the wrench icon, go into System section inside settings and change the Modifier Key from Search back to Caps Lock." PROBLEM SOLVED.

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