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Ubiquity: Firefox Gets its Quicksilver On

Aza’s Thoughts » Ubiquity In Depth

Take a few minutes this week to look at the Ubiquity plugin for Firefox. So far, I've spent just enough time with it to have my mind blown by the Quicksilver-like interface it wants to bring to web browsing.

Ubiquity for Firefox from Aza Raskin on Vimeo.

And, like our favorite OS X launcher, Ubiquity also has an ambitious mission: to move beyond onesie-twosie key shortcuts by using user-extensible commands to intuitively hook together bits of information like model train cars:

Ubiquity’s interface goal is to enable the user to instruct the browser (by typing, speaking, using language) what they want to do.


We aren’t there yet. Instead, we have the rudimentary systems of structured natural language commands. You can select something and Ubiq “translate this to French”, or “email it to Jono”. In both cases, Ubiquity is smart enough to realize what “this” and “it” refers to, as well as knowing who Jono is (by talking with my web-mail’s contact list). It’s also smart enough to be able to understand commands like “map Chicago Comics” and “yelp Tapas near SF” and give you rich previews and search results to get you where you want to be quickly. Even better, both of those commands let you insert results directly into, say, an email you’re writing so that you never have to interrupt your chain of thought.

Install it, try it for yourself, and, as you get started, do make liberal use of the Key Commands page (only available after install). There's also tutorials (that I have not looked at much yet) that show how to make and share new commands.

Every quarter or so I'm sorely tempted to experiment with The Big Move from Safari to Firefox. It's never stuck before, but Ubiquity makes it damned clear that the latest experiment starts right now. This looks amazing.

[Ubiquity link via: Waxy]

About Merlin

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Merlin Mann is an independent writer, speaker, and broadcaster. He’s best known for being the guy who created the website you’re reading right now. He lives in San Francisco, does lots of public speaking, and helps make cool things like You Look Nice Today, Back to Work, and Kung Fu Grippe. Also? He’s writing this book, he lives with this face, he suffers from this hair, he answers these questions, and he’s had this life. So far.

Merlin’s favorite thing he’s written in the past few years is an essay entitled, “Cranking.”




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