Monthly Archives: August 2008

Test Driving Mozilla’s Ubiquity Shell…

I took a bit today to play with the recently released Mozilla ‘Ubiquity’.  Ubiquity is a new “browser command shell” for Firefox that allows you to interact with your browser and the Internet in some pretty interesting ways – mainly in that it allows you to take many of the interweb’s most popular services and create a giant mash-up on the fly.  Largely based around the services and products typically associated with the ‘new Internet’, or ‘Web 2.0’, much of Ubiquity’s value comes largely from the fact that a significant percentage of Firefox users are also users of Google services and sites such as Wikipedia and IMDB – services, coupled with many others, that Ubiquity incorporates under one “launcher shell”.

Being the huge fan of Gnome-Do that I am, I am always open to utils that allow me to “keep in the flow” while shifting focus.  Ubiquity serves to do just this – allow the user to pull some of the more useful and interesting content from the “rest” of the Internet into “the part” of the Internet in which the user is currently working.  Say you are typing an email to a friend about grabbing drinks at a bar you recently heard about?  While in Gmail, you bring up Ubiquity and enter something along the lines of “map Ye Olde Pub, Yourtown, ST” and you are presented with a nice, manipulable map which you can easily drop into the email!

The above is just one simple (and overplayed) example, but there are far better and more in-depth examples at Mozilla’s Ubiquity site, so I will end it with that and let you decide if you want to check it out or not.  I am optimistic about the future of Ubiquity.  It currently has considerable bugs and is definitely facing some reliability issues (odd hangs and glitches), but for a first release, I am incredibly impressed about what this will do to how Firefox users interact with the virtual world around them…

By this point, you are either intrigued enough to stop reading my ramblings and head to Mozilla to grab a try for yourself or you could give two squirts less and are heading over to college humor to see what the work firewall will actually allow to slip through…  In either case, HAVE FUN!

Link: Here is a link to the Flickr set showing some of the features.
-Matt