I’ve been spending the last hour playing around with Ubiquity, which is the latest piece of concept software to come out of Mozilla Labs. It tries to be to Firefox what Quicksilver is to the Mac, namely an alternative, keyboard-centered interface to a lot of functionality that’s built into Firefox and, and this is the exciting part, to often-used web services.
Now, this isn’t all that useful if most of your computer use still takes place within the confines of your desktop. But if you spend most of your time on the web and keep most of your data – calendars, addresses, emails, documents, whatnot – online, then this is an incredibly powerful, time-saving innovation. Now instead of having to call up Google Calendar to add an appointment you simply call up Ubiquity and tell it to “add-to-calendar lunch with Tobi and Hendrik at the mensa at 1pm tomorrow” and it will understand what all of these pieces of information mean and create an event in your calendar that contains all this data. Watch the video on the site to get an idea of what other things this neat little piece of software makes possible.
Now, this is still a far cry from what the Semantic Web will hopefully eventually allow us to do. But I’m impressed what is already possible with some relatively simple parsing code and loads and loads of open APIs to webservices.