Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Ubiquity for Firefox

Ubiquity by Mozilla team is just amazing.
Existence or apparent existence everywhere at the same time; omnipresence: “the repetitiveness, the selfsameness, and the ubiquity of modern mass culture” (Theodor Adorno )
I also like terms omnipotence and omnipresence as well :)

I have just checked the weather in Bern, added some birthday reminders to my Google calendar, twittered my 'testing ubiquity' status, looked up some pit bull puppies photos on Flickr, messed my open tabs in Firefox and even counted the amount of words in this post - all in a couple of seconds using Ubiquity :)
Ok, what is Ubiquity?
Firefox add-on that springs to life once you press Ctrl-Space (or Option-Space if you're using Mac) and lets you type what do you want to do instead of where do you want to go in browser to do it. For most commands Ubiquity will fetch the results using the desired website's API and display them in the same window, without a hassle for you to go there and enter search terms/perform an action yourself

Check this movie to see how it works:

Ubiquity for Firefox from Aza Raskin on Vimeo.

This brings back the movies from 80's when a cop used to type 'find all persons with name Hans Jakobli'. Everyone at least a little-bit computer literate used to laugh watching movies like this back then, but now computer power has reached the level to make tricks like this possible. All you need to do to get Ubiquity - have Firefox and click this link: install Ubiquity (this links you to Mozilla site). (you will have to install Growl too if you use Mac).

That's it - after this you are ready to roll :) While being only version 0.1, Ubiquity is very powerful. This is just a few of the available commands (you can check the full list by Ubiquity Commands link once you have Ubiquity installed):
  • add-to-calendar Adds an event to your calendar.
  • convert Converts a selection to a PDF, to rich text, or to html.
  • digg If not yet submitted, submits the page to Digg. Otherwise, it takes you to the story's Digg page.
  • escape-html-entities Replaces html entities (<, >, and &) with their escape sequences. (Extremely useful if you do heavy html hacking like this)
  • flickr Searches Flickr for pictures matching your words.
  • map Turns an address or location name into a Google Map.
  • map-these Maps multiple selected addresses or links onto a single Google Map.
  • tinyurl Replaces the selected URL with a TinyUrl
  • translate Translates from one language to another.
  • twitter Sets your Twitter status to a message of at most 160 characters.
  • weather Checks the weather for a given location.
  • wikipedia Searches Wikipedia for your words.
  • youtube Searches YouTube for videos matching your words.

Commands can be typed using only first few symbols - so w saffron burrows will show you clickable wikipedia results for Saffron Burrows in the same window:

And tw writing about Ubiquity will update your Twitter with message 'writing about Ubiquity'. Commands are extendable and people can write their own - that guarantees the growth of amount of available commands.

Ubiquity is an extremely powerful tool - and it is pretty easy to guess that it will be used on OS level in the future (the attempts to do this include OS X Spotlight, Vista's Start Menu, Google Desktop, Launchy) - yet in present this is the most powerful of them all.

Ubiquity is a Firefox extension - so it will work on any operating system (as mentioned, Mac users will have to download Growl first though). Ubiquity for Linux is currently not available Despite claims on the Ubiquity development page that Ubiquity doesn't yet work on Linux, it actually works on my Ubuntu home box - and even better than on my Windows machine at work :)

Hope you enjoy Ubiquity as much as I do :)
said thank you for this page

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Yevgen Antymyrov said...

It's an awesome thing!!! Thanks for the link ;)

Anonymous said...

My pleasure :) Thanks for the link you've sent me today too ;)

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