Mozilla Labs Ubiquity Is A Firefox Killer Application!

Martin Brinkmann
Aug 26, 2008
Updated • Sep 26, 2017
Firefox, Firefox add-ons

Amos mailed me today and told me about a new Mozilla Labs prototype Ubiquity which he called phenomenal.

I was skeptical at first but after a quick trial I'm convinced that this can be the killer app for Firefox.

Yes, that may be hard to believe but this prototype introduces a whole new level of interaction with the browser.

Natural interaction that is, something that integrates itself perfectly in your work routine.

Ubiquitymozilla ubiquity

Ubiquity is a Firefox prototype add-on that is similar to Launchy but runs in the browser exclusively.

Launchy is a Windows launcher that makes things much easier as it provides quick access to programs and other features of interest. All you have to do is press a hotkey, enter what you want to do or run, and that is it.

Ubiquity takes that concept to the web. The interface is opened with the shortcut Ctrl-Space when Firefox is open and Ubiquity installed in the browser. A black transparent block opens just below the header of Firefox when you use the shortcut.

It looks like a command line of sorts on first glance but turns out to be more than just that.

The interesting aspect of this is that all operations happen in that black area.Want to write a message about your recent Twitter discovery? With Ubiquity installed, you use Ctrl-Space to bring the interface up, type Twitter "message" and hit enter to send it to Twitter.

That's it. No more leaving the page or opening a new tab, no widgets in the background that you need to open.

Lots of commands are available by default. I would say about 50 are available. This reaches from searching the web and map related stuff to translations, adding events to a calendar, emailing, calculating or voting for articles. Lots of stuff to explore and it is pretty exciting that users can create their own commands.

This requires some programming skills but I'm confident that we will see many user created commands that can be integrated into versions of Ubiquity easily.

A wonderful feature is the Google Maps integration. If you got a list of addresses Ubiquity can map all of them on Google Map and it is possible to add the map to the current page, for example an email or web form.

There is so much possibility. What can I say. Go get it right now, it is a killer app. Thanks again Amos, your tip was wonderful.

Update: Mozilla has not updated Ubiquity since 2010. The extension is maintained by a community member however and you can still download it from the Ubiquity Wiki and install it in some versions of Firefox. Note that Ubiquity will stop working when Firefox 57 is released in November 2017.

Mozilla Labs Ubiquity Is A Firefox Killer Application!
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Mozilla Labs Ubiquity Is A Firefox Killer Application!
A first look at the Firefox extension Ubiquity which adds a command line to the browser that you can run commands on directly.
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  1. leo said on October 30, 2008 at 3:48 pm

    im a bit late but this is great!!

  2. kainen said on August 30, 2008 at 9:48 pm

    thx for the hedz up

  3. Matt said on August 29, 2008 at 9:29 pm

    OMG!! Ubiquity extension is pants-peeing awesome.!!

  4. Chris M said on August 27, 2008 at 5:42 pm

    @Tony S.
    To fix the Fast Dial display issue just upgrade to the newest X build (2.x) I had the same problem (has to do with the use of about:blank in Fast Dial) but this fixed it.

  5. Tony S. said on August 27, 2008 at 3:38 pm

    Really impressive add-on.
    I’ve been trying it for a while (minutes), and I found that if you have the FastDial add-on, it will stop displaying your links.

    Sure I’ll change to another links-showcase-app.
    (or wait until they fix this)

  6. Billy Girlardo said on August 27, 2008 at 4:03 am

    Sorry, just like LH talking up all those shortcuts, keywords, blah, blah, blah, I have no interest in memorizing another group so I’ll just pass. And no, it’s no killer app for me.

  7. Sridhar Katakam said on August 27, 2008 at 8:27 am

    I watched the video tutorial, installed it and gave it some time. It is not a replacement for desktop launchers but nicely complements them.

  8. Sridhar Katakam said on August 27, 2008 at 8:06 am

    I fail to see the excitement in this. How is it simpler to switch to Firefox and execute these commands to launch stuff? Why not use a windows-level launcher like FARR or Executor or Launchy with the advantage of getting its input box irrespective of which application you are in?

  9. Angelo R. said on August 27, 2008 at 7:32 am

    Wow this is actually pretty great.. I’ve been testing it out a bit before actually commenting here but this is a good find. I’ve been keeping tabs on the Mozilla labs ideas for a while now, but I wasn’t aware that they had actually released a prototype to the public!

  10. Rarst said on August 27, 2008 at 7:22 am

    Seems like custom search engine on steroids to me… “Type command and request” is exactly how custom search engines work and you can use them for much more than just search engines. :)

  11. garbanzo said on August 27, 2008 at 7:14 am

    oooooh i like the look of this! now i have something to do at work today :)


  12. Fernando said on August 27, 2008 at 7:04 am

    sounds like the first step on the road to the demos from the web of the future they sent recently

  13. archer said on August 27, 2008 at 2:21 am

    big thanks to both of you!

  14. Amos said on August 27, 2008 at 12:40 am

    I notice they’ve set up something in the way of a wiki for user-created commands:

  15. Martin said on August 27, 2008 at 12:04 am

    Thanks Scott, I’m to excited ;)

  16. Scott said on August 27, 2008 at 12:03 am

    I didn’t see the link in your post, so…

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