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Mozilla Rolls Out a Browser Command Line Called Ubiquity

As is being covered on sites and blogs across the webbernet, Mozilla labs released their first semi-usable beta of their new browser interface called Ubiquity. Unlike Goosh (the unofficial command shell for Google), Ubiquity is a command line interface which uses natural language to execute intelligent behaviors. The screenshots look absolutely fabulous and the concept is brilliant. There are some simple commands already implemented such as the map command which allows you to automagically pull up a Google map of a location and get directions. Some other commands of note let you retrieve information from Wikipedia, search using your engine of choice and get weather. The video shows some very impressive functionality and gives a taste of the natural language functionality that they seem to have in mind. The review over at Ars Technica has an excellent overview of what’s going on and makes the excellent point that the usefulness of this tool will increase dramatically if it can support pipes in the style of Unix and Linux shells (bashis my fav). While I don’t like that every single article touts the newfound potential of “making your own mashup” with that characteristic fanboy enthusiasm, I think this is an exceptional innovation with some great promise. If we’re lucky, the average user will learn to love the efficiency, realizing that command-line interfaces are actually superior to graphical interfaces in many ways and not just some antiquated technology. Maybe I won’t get such strange looks whenever I pull up a shell… Also of note, the Ubiquity 0.1 Author Tutorial gives a whole slew of wonderful examples for people wishing to develop their own commands using plain old JavaScript. Also, it would seem that Ubiquity bundles jQuery as a JS toolkit! How cool is that?

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