Mozilla.org just released one of the most exciting Firefox add-ons to come down the pike – Ubiquity. This is very alpha – the user interface will definitely mature, so what’s there now is best suited for geeks like me who have always liked command shells and already do things like use the Mac’s Spotlight as their calculator (if you type 2 + 2 in Spotlight, it will tell you it equals 4).
Ubiquity is best described as a macro language for the web, or a personal mashup engine. You assign a hotkey (such as Alt-space or Option-space) and a box comes up, which you can enter ubiquity commands in. I’m not going to tell you all about them – just watch the video:
At this point, Ubiquity’s functionality pretty much requires a Google account – the email, calendar, maps and contacts integration is all with Google’s offerings. I expect that to change rapidly, as developing custom commands for Ubiquity is at a very basic programming level.
The case uses that are immediately apparent include adding maps and multimedia content to emails and blog entries (I use Scribefire – this assumption assumes that you compose your blog in your browser); having a lot of info available without having to tab away from the web page you’re on; and making some complex web tasks far more efficient. Mozilla is ambitious, though – they see Ubiquity as the ultimate personal web assistant, that will someday let you issue a command to book a trip; issue another to set up a multi-party meeting, and, who knows? Vacuum the house and feed the fish. Aza discusses that vision here.
Try Ubiquity out. Install it from here. Let me know what you think, and what case uses you envision for it.