Webreakstuff blog

Ubiquity: this is a big deal

I’m gonna go out on a limb and do something I don’t typically do, which is guess the fate of something. But my gut tells me Ubiquity, a new project just announced on Mozilla Labs, is going to be a hell of a big deal. Ubiquity, in a nutshell, is a set of functions on top of the browser that allows the user to take data sources existing now, and being created now (i.e like Microformats) and explore them in different (and useful) ways. It’s much better seen than read, so watch this video and then come back to me:

My feeling is that you’re as impressed as I was when I saw it. This is a big deal. We’re creating all sorts of data every day, by using social networks, social software and the web as a whole. What we’re not doing, though, is using that data to its fullest potential. We’re still used to looking at our data as belonging to a silo (even though, as you know, many as I do defend open data) – which it shouldn’t be. The craigslist is a crucial example to me: CL isn’t going to implement (at least not if they’re sticking to their KISS approach) maps anytime soon. But that doesn’t mean that their data should only be visualized in their typical texty-manner. Data is data is data – we just need more ways to look at it.

Write the future

Ubiquity is a step in the right direction. A step I’m sure many of my readers will gladly want to help browser technology take. So get involved if you have the spare cycles and/or the right ideas. I’m not mobilizing you because I have anything to do with Mozilla (beside being a long time fan, I don’t), but because this is definitely a technology that benefits from creative input, in figuring out new ways to both interact with the system, and with the key component of all of this: our data in the cloud. Read the full Ubiquity announcement post here, and enjoy!

  1. [...] Oliveira thinks that Ubiquity could be a big deal, and I think Fred might be right. It may not happen right away, and it may not look exactly like [...]

  2. Paul says: August 27, 20083:43 am

    Thanks for breaking this – it’s made my day.

    Agreed that this will be huge – it brings so much open api power to the average user.
    I’m reminded a bit of Tim Berners Lee’s vision of the browser as semantic web ‘agent’ – making connections and linking disparate data sources together.

    Amazing to see things like this happening at last.

  3. Louis says: August 27, 20089:23 am

    I agree that the craigslist example is very interesting. Though, a lot of Ubiquity’s functionnalities are already in your daily routine if you use Quicksilver, so here I feel some redundance. Also, I think that everything they speak about is not necessarily the browser job : it’s more the job of a standalone global app.

    Though this initiative is very pleasing :)

  4. Pedro Sousa says: August 27, 20089:37 am

    the email example was quite useful.
    it looks more like an interactive terminal for the web. amazing. :)

  5. [...] interface works well, and the functionality can be extended quite easily, so I’m expecting great stuff from this! Must spend some more time on the [...]

  6. André Luís says: August 28, 200812:24 am


    I stronly believe this will have quite an impact, basically because they solved a very important issue that the extension Operator never did. Extending the feature set, ie, installing new commands! It’s a breeze with ubiquity and not so automatic with operator.

    And to think this is only a “prototype”. :)

  7. Nathan says: August 28, 20088:22 pm

    I love the idea of mashing up data, content, etc, but I see no reason why this should be limited to only the browser. I think a push should be made to do these sorts of actions at the OS level. OS Search is cool right now, but mashups and visualization are far more useful.

  8. [...] step further–it’s a “commandline” truly within the web paradigm. I agree with Fred Oliveira, this could be big. Check out the video for [...]

  9. [...] WebBreakStuff - Ubiquity: This is a Big Deal [...]

  10. Cindy says: September 8, 20089:47 pm

    Exciting! I can’t wait for this to come out to the public. I think it’ll be really big and extremely useful for everyone.

    He’s right, it’s 2008, and technology needs to be more innovative than it is.



  11. Mat Packer says: September 18, 200811:22 pm

    Certainly an interesting project, I can so much potential there. I’ll have to keep a close eye on the development.

  12. John Pollard says: February 12, 200911:49 am

    Sorry, this seems to me like using cars the same way horses were used until someone figured out cars were different to horses. I’m doing more than this in Filemaker.

Submit comment