Mozilla Labs, the R&D department for the group that puts out the amazing Firefox, just released a preview for a new browser technology they call Ubiquity. It’s a little rough at the moment, but shows a lot of promise. I’m a little skeptical that the average user will really understand its power, however, though I’d like to be proven wrong.
If you’re interested to see what Ubiquity can do, keep reading.
What is Ubiquity?
Ubiquity is like a command line interface (cli) for Firefox. Just like how the cli in Linux (Bash) or Windows (PowerShell) gains much of its power from the ability to “pipe)” commands together to create powerful new tools, Ubiquity lets you easily tie together a variety of web services in an intuitive way.
I could spend another couple hundred words trying to describe it to you, but instead I’ll let you see it in action for yourself (direct link if you don’t see the video below):
Ubiquity for Firefox from Aza Raskin on Vimeo.
Is Ubiquity too Geeky?
Yes – for now, at least. This is an alpha/preview release, so there are plenty of areas for improvement. Getting past the bugs and the polish though, I’m afraid that even the idea for something like Ubiquity is completely foreign to most people. The utility of this technology was instantly apparent to me, but then I’ve been a user of Linux, Quicksilver on the Mac, and Launchy on Windows for years now. This things aren’t all that intuitive and have a learning curve that will make mainstream users surrender.
I believe Ubiquity is a huge step forward for web browsing, and I’d hate to see it relegated to the nerds and the geeks. So I’m hoping they can either take the current interface and really make it easy, or maybe add on a graphical front-end that people can pickup without much thinking. Because if we know anything, it’s that web users aren’t patient and they don’t read instructions.