A virtual keyboard provides two main advantages over a hardware keyboard. First, it defeats some keyloggers as the keys are not typed in but clicked on, and second it may offer faster access to special characters, especially used by other keyboard layouts not installed on the system.
An example would be an English user who needs to write a German ö. Sure, the user could press the combination Alt+0246 on the numpad to write that letter, but only if the code is known, and chance is it is not if it is not commonly used.
Virtual Keyboard is a Google Chrome extension that offers both benefits. It supports a wide variety of different keyboard layouts, including the default English keyboard, but also German, French, Spanish, Greek, Russian or Cyrillic keyboard layouts.
More than 80 different layouts are supported by the extension.
The virtual keyboard is automatically displayed on every web page that displays at least one text form.
Like the previously reviewed Virtual Keyboard userscript it fails to work on secure (https) sites which severely limits its protection against keyloggers. One would expect an add-on like this to work on secure sites as well, considering that those are often prime targets of attackers.
Only the English keyboard layout is available after installation. The Chrome user can use the options to add layouts to the program to switch between them whenever necessary on the web.
It is possible to switch between layouts in the header, or by pressing Ctrl-Q.
The lack of support for https sites makes it less usable from a security perspective. It is nevertheless helpful for users who have to type characters from different languages regularly in the web browser.
Google Chrome Virtual Keyboard is available on the Chrome extensions gallery.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.