Mozilla Labs: Ubiquity

27 Aug 2008 - 7:26am
5 years ago
13 replies
819 reads
.pauric
2006

Aza Raskin presents very intriguing interaction paradigm for the
browser, similar to his previous work with Enzo for the OS; instead of
you going to services, the application pulls those services in to your
workflow via a natural language command line.
http://labs.mozilla.com/2008/08/introducing-ubiquity/
He's created a nice video demoing the app

I wonder what people's thoughts are on (power-user orientated?)
command line interfaces when compared to the visually heavy designs at
the other end of the spectrum, e.g. http://adaptivepath.com/aurora/

exciting times!
regards/pauric

Comments

27 Aug 2008 - 8:03am
Fredrik Matheson
2005

It looks fascinating, thanks for sharing!
Jef Raskin originally introduced similar core ideas in the Canon Cat [1] and
gave a thorough explanation of the concept in his book The Humane Interface
[2].
I'm glad we're seeing a few breaks from the usual WIMP ways of doing things.
Multi-touch and type-ahead command line (Quicksilver; Enzo) are two good
examples. Ubiquity might well be another.

- Fredrik

1. • http://jef.raskincenter.org/published/cat_manual.html
http://www.digibarn.com/friends/jef-raskin/slides/canon-cat/index.html
http://canoncat.org/

2. http://www.amazon.com/dp/0201379376

27 Aug 2008 - 8:31am
Andy Edmonds
2004

If you've got technical, highly frequent users, my bet is a CLI is a
good addition. One of the coolest things about Ubiquity is the potential
to re-use the natural language structure and UI for your own application.

I'm also looking forward to having a CLI for querying history and
bookmarks to rapidly refind that thing from last week that I remember by
time or page sequence (e.g. a click from a query on google for "foo").
More on that notion at http://surfmind.com/muzings/?p=164

-Andy

pauric wrote:
>
> I wonder what people's thoughts are on (power-user orientated?)
> command line interfaces when compared to the visually heavy designs at
> the other end of the spectrum, e.g. http://adaptivepath.com/aurora/
>
>

27 Aug 2008 - 9:24am
Matt Nish-Lapidus
2007

Fredrik mentioned Quicksilver.. and really, after trying out the
Ubiquity prototype, it really feels like Quicksilver for the browser.
And I mean that in a good way.

After using Quicksilver for a number of years it's become
indispensable, and Ubiquity looks like it would be the same once fully
functional.

These types of rich command line interfaces are amazingly fast once
you get into the habit of using them... however, they will probably
always be a "power user" tool, rather than the norm.

Matt.

On Wed, Aug 27, 2008 at 9:03 AM, Fredrik Matheson
<fredrik.matheson at gmail.com> wrote:
> It looks fascinating, thanks for sharing!
> Jef Raskin originally introduced similar core ideas in the Canon Cat [1] and
> gave a thorough explanation of the concept in his book The Humane Interface
> [2].
> I'm glad we're seeing a few breaks from the usual WIMP ways of doing things.
> Multi-touch and type-ahead command line (Quicksilver; Enzo) are two good
> examples. Ubiquity might well be another.
>
> - Fredrik
>
> 1. • http://jef.raskincenter.org/published/cat_manual.html
>http://www.digibarn.com/friends/jef-raskin/slides/canon-cat/index.html
>http://canoncat.org/
>
> 2. http://www.amazon.com/dp/0201379376

--
Matt Nish-Lapidus
work: matt at bibliocommons.com / www.bibliocommons.com
--
personal: mattnl at gmail.com
twitter: emenel

27 Aug 2008 - 10:06am
Dave Malouf
2005

I haven't installed it yet. have used ENSO in the past and just
didn't "get it" after trying for a month. Then I engaged
wundrbar.com and I really loved it. Ubiquity feels (from afar) more
like wundrbar.com. The key difference is what Matt calls "Rich CLI"
but what I had thought of as "guided CLI". To me this is a key
barrier breaking part of what is new with Ubiquity and wundrbar.com
(haven't used Quicksilver).

As for Ubiquity more specifically, I am less intrigued by the CLI
aspects of what is being presented than the development of this
platform. In fact, the CLI might only end up being ONE means of
engaging the ubiquity platform. I.e. CLI on mobile would suck, but
the mashup aspects controlled by the thin client connecting these
services is really exciting to me.

I think if Aza can do more around the command creation process, so
that it can be truly "user generated" then he will have a SHIFT
creating product on his hands. BRAVO!

-- dave

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=32394

27 Aug 2008 - 11:48am
Evan K. Stone
2008

definitely a derivative of his work on enso. interesting how close the
functionality is:

http://www.humanized.com/enso_demo.php

makes sense, however... this would be the next logical step, being with
mozilla now.

///eks

> -----Original Message-----
> Aza Raskin presents very intriguing interaction paradigm for the
> browser, similar to his previous work with Enzo for the OS; instead of
> you going to services, the application pulls those services in to your
> workflow via a natural language command line.
> http://labs.mozilla.com/2008/08/introducing-ubiquity/

27 Aug 2008 - 5:05pm
Jim Burrows
2008

I'm not sure that the assumption that CLIs are only for power users
or technical users is entirely justified. That's certainly been the
assumption for the last 25 years or so, but even back then our group
was able to create command line interfaces that were able to
understand more than 3/4 of the untrained utterances of non-computer
users in a system that intentionally offered no help. (see
http://www.recordare.com/good/chi83.html ) Adding help and immediate
feedback the way that Ubiquity does should be able to get that figure
much much higher.

The main thing that makes CLI's hard to use has been the expectation
that they are hard to use or are only for experts. This project seems
very promising to me.

On the other hand, using typing may not be as appropriate in an
iPhone world, but Aza carefully talks about the interface as
"language based" and doesn't explicitly focus on typing. Language
can, after all be oral as well as written.

I look forward to watching this evolve.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=32394

27 Aug 2008 - 1:28pm
Damon Dimmick
2008

I was thinking about this earlier today:

This kind of service, although superb for the user, poses some serious
questions to companies who develop web-apps.

How do you monetize your service (and keep it available) if the future
of web interaction relies on "pulling" your service rather than bringing
visitors to your site. For instance, Ubiquity lets you throw twitters,
embed maps, snag ratings from sites.... these are all fantastic
abilities. I'm already using the darn thing and i've only had it
installed for 2 hours.

But for the providers of these services (maps / twits / ratings) what
does it mean when a new generation of services actually snags your
content and cuts out the source of potential profits (visitors). Do you
have to embed your revenue generators (say advertisements) into your
content? Or do you hope that by providing ubiquitous inclusion on your
content you will somehow grow your total eye-share and visitor numbers?

As micro apps get better and better at pulling info from the semantic
web, does the very idea of "visiting a site" become obsolete? And if so,
where can you generate a revenue stream?

Food for thought. We're moving away from the "Paged Web" faster than
some expected.

pauric wrote:
> Aza Raskin presents very intriguing interaction paradigm for the
> browser, similar to his previous work with Enzo for the OS; instead of
> you going to services, the application pulls those services in to your
> workflow via a natural language command line.
> http://labs.mozilla.com/2008/08/introducing-ubiquity/
> He's created a nice video demoing the app
>
> I wonder what people's thoughts are on (power-user orientated?)
> command line interfaces when compared to the visually heavy designs at
> the other end of the spectrum, e.g. http://adaptivepath.com/aurora/
>
> exciting times!
> regards/pauric
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help
>

28 Aug 2008 - 1:19am
martinpolley
2007

The same is already true for any content that is consumed via an RSS reader.
And a fair number of blogs (e.g., Lifehacker) now embed ads in their RSS
feeds. I think we're going to see a lot more of this sort of thing.

Cheers,

--
Martin Polley
Technical writer, interaction designer
+972 52 3864280
Twitter: martinpolley
<http://capcloud.com/>

On Wed, Aug 27, 2008 at 9:28 PM, Damon Dimmick <damon.dimmick at gmail.com>wrote:

> ...
>
> Do you
> have to embed your revenue generators (say advertisements) into your
> content? Or do you hope that by providing ubiquitous inclusion on your
> content you will somehow grow your total eye-share and visitor numbers?
>
> ...

28 Aug 2008 - 3:21am
Liou Yamane
2008

Very interesting tool. From my brief experience with QuickSilver, it
seems similar. One big improvement over QuickSilver though might be
(if not yet implemented) to offer contextual options, relevant to the
current application or selected content.

One major disadvantage of CLI's is the lack of visibility, for
example as opposed to a right-mouse-click contextual menu. The first
is empty, whereas the latter shows the relevant options. Ubiquity
seems to give a few presets, but I am not sure.

The choice for a CLI offers much more options, as a contextual menu
has a limited amount of space, or will become very complex using
hierarchy menus. But when using a CLI, the language recognition
engine should accept a lot of variations for the same action or
object, and give enough context to guide the user.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=32394

28 Aug 2008 - 4:39am
Liou Yamane
2008

Okay, there is a right-click menu, but apparently it isn't
contextual. It offers the same options for every piece of text you
select. In the tutorial example, a formula is given, so automatically
highlighting or only showing the function would be useful here.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=32394

28 Aug 2008 - 11:10am
Andrew Dudley
2008

@Jeff -- thanks for mentioning Wundrbar. As one of its creators,
I've been really interested in Ubiquity's development and the
overall progress being made in the CLI space.

@Jim -- One thing I would clarify is that neither Ubiquity nor
Wundrbar is truly a "command line" -- that is, although both
products currently rely on a user beginning their command with some
sort of keyword (e.g. "amazon," "wik", etc), after that, the user
doesn't really need to know any special syntax or flags. With
Wundrbar, we accept parameters in pretty much any order and format,
so the input can more closely resemble natural language. Our users,
many of whom are not tech savvy, definitely appreciate this
flexibility.

I've posted more of our thoughts on Ubiquity and Wundrbar here:

http://blog.wundrbar.com/2008/08/wundrbar-vs-ubiquity-our-thoughts.html

I invite you all to give it a read and contribute any thoughts you
might have. And definitely check out Wundrbar if you haven't
already!

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=32394

28 Aug 2008 - 12:11pm
Dave Malouf
2005

Andrew you should submit a proposal for a Lightning Round presentation
for Interaction09 | Vancouver on Guided CLI and Wundrbar.com as a case
study in IxD.

Go to http://interaction09.ixda.org/program.php

BTW, I was the one who mentioned wundrbar. ;-)

-- dave

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=32394

7 Sep 2008 - 5:57am
.pauric
2006

The breadth of the commands for the new FF UI is expanding pretty
quickly
http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/the_ultimate_list_of_custom_ubiquity_verbs.php

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=32394

Syndicate content Get the feed