Ubiquity, a command line interface for the web, isn’t for everyone, yet. But it’s for me.
The ideas behind Ubiquity underscore a big shift in the way we share content. To give you an example of what Ubiquity can do, here’s a screenshot.
What’s going on here? In GMail, the author is coordinating a rendez-vous with a friend and wants to provide a map. Instead of opening a new tab, firing up local.google.com and finding the location and copying the associated link, he’s able to hit a keyboard shortcut, type “map Chicago Comics” into Ubiquity and immediately insert a map.
There are many things you can do with Ubiquity: email any link or selected text on the fly, initiate a google, amazon or other search, update Twitter status – the list is long. And anyone can develop other functionality including plug ins for CrunchBase, Evernote, etc.
As browser development proceeds, Firefox and Chrome become more intelligent about the way they respond to our commands, for example determining that “google” really means http://www.google.com or that “saturday night live” really means “search google.com for the terms ‘saturday night live’”.
In so doing, browsers are enabling new forms of use, some of which are demonstrated by Ubiquity:
- Pull select bits of web pages out when I need them. Maps, stock quotes
- Share content instantly with friends no matter where you are. Ubiquity actually grabs your GMail contacts so you can effectively just email people from the command line.
- Instantiate searches immediately, or by highlighting a term and intelligently decide to send it to the right search engine: amazon, google, kayak, crunchbase…
- Take the current url, convert it to a TinyUrl and then insert it into a Twitter update and push that to Twitter (yes, can all be done through Ubiquity!)
Some future functions might include adding movies and songs to your respective queues for Netflix and iTunes.
When we share today, we copy/paste links of content back and forth in email, chat and social networks. But eventually, the browser will become the tool that enables content to be shared with friends and data to be pushed to APIs, eliminating the need to visit Twitter/Facebook/GMail just to post a message.
Of course, consumption of the content and response to it may very well stay on Facebook, Twitter or Email because all the necessary unique features to each communication medium are found on those sites.