Aug. 27th, 2008 08:52 pm
bellwether: (Default)
[personal profile] bellwether
Mozilla Labs just released a new Firefox plugin today, called Ubiquity which effectively adds easy & instant mash-up capabilities to Firefox. While not really ubiquitous computing, Ubiquity is still pretty sweet...

Highlight a sentence, hit the hotkey and type "translate this to spanish" and the text is instantly replaced in place by it's translation. Highlight an address or place name, hotkey and "map this" and you pull up a Google map of the location. Similar functions exist for IMDB lookups, Flickr searches, Wikipedia, Yahoo, Google Mail ("mail this to kevin"), and so on.... The power is quite compelling!

It's still buggy, but there's a lot of promise. It's also completely open, so you can add new functionality easily. I'm thinking about "tivo this" and "netflix this" commands to easily modify my tivo programming & netflix queue....

Check it out.

Date: 2008-08-28 11:39 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ukelele.livejournal.com
Of course, you know that machine translations usually suck...

Date: 2008-08-28 05:22 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] bellwethr.livejournal.com
Oh, you're absolutely correct. That's not the point though--I think the translation service is just using Google's translation facility. That said though, it's already been really useful. If I'm reading a German technical blog and I'm missing some of the context, I can translate the article or comments in place without having to go to a third party site and cut & paste the text, etc.

Date: 2008-08-28 11:16 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] beef-cake.livejournal.com
I was impressed by the demo video, and equally confused by the name. (I'm glad you brought it up.)

Most of all, I'm fascinated by the interface having a somewhat linguistic orientation. I hope that instant mash-ups are able to bring us closer to the coveted "librarian" program.

Date: 2008-08-28 11:17 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] beef-cake.livejournal.com
You should have used Ubiquity to write this post. :)

Date: 2008-08-29 09:48 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] zudini.livejournal.com
I don't get it. How is it an improvement over greasemonkey?

Date: 2008-08-29 10:51 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] bellwethr.livejournal.com
It's similar in it's goals, but ubiquity is like a CLI that lets you apply textual commands to whatever you're looking at in the browser. The idea is to standardize the interaction model (e.g, highlight and issue natural language-like commands). Greasemonkey scripts are typically geared towards a specific site and make assumptions about that site. Ubiquity is trying to be a little more general--although with the generality there's definitely reduced scope.


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