Way back in the mists of time, the rise of Netscape and the Web was seen as putting pressure on Microsoft and its Windows monopoly because of what some called the “browser as operating system.” Much of that early promise — or fear — has yet to be realized, but looking at something like Ubiquity, the alpha software from Mozilla Labs, it looks as though it is coming closer. In effect, Ubiquity wants to tie together all of the Web-based software and services like Google Maps, Wikipedia and Twitter by using the browser, so that users can integrate them into things like email, instant messages and Web pages.

In the video below, Aza Raskin of Mozilla — who happens to be the son of legendary Apple designer Jef Raskin and is also the developer of the excellent music app Songza.com — demonstrates some of the ways in which users could tie together different services with Ubiquity, by inserting a Google map and reviews of a restaurant quickly into an email to a friend. The app recognizes simple terms like “map these” (after a number of listings are selected), and different services can be added by simply subscribing to scripts that use Ubiquity’s code.


Ubiquity for Firefox from Aza Raskin on Vimeo.

 

Fred 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 Ubiquity does right now, but I think the idea of tying Web services together using the browser as a kind of platform or operating system makes a lot of sense. Aza Raskin has more on the launch here.

About the author

Mathew 2406 posts

I'm a Toronto-based former senior writer with Gigaom and my favorite things to write about are social technology, media and the evolution of online behavior

9 Responses to “Mozilla: The browser as operating system”
  1. jumping on the bandwagon– this is not a new concept. there are already implementations of this in the real-world facebook mail, Y! shortcuts… they can certainly stand to be improved but lets try to improve these in and take lots of little small steps in doing so rather then building and then crashing the hype cycle around these announcements.

  2. […] through natural language, just type what you want into the Ubiqity interface. It looks like a great piece of technology (although not ground-breaking) and has even made Scoble promise not to use IE8! I’ve […]

  3. Why do I have another operating system in my browser while it actually needs one to run?
    I think that would be better to have a web-centric operating system with applications like Twirl to connect and interact with the net.

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  5. […] Mozilla: The browser as operating system – mathewingram.com/work […]

  6. […] Mozilla: The browser as operating system […]

  7. […] sees the browser as a form of operating system — just as I think the Mozilla group does, as I wrote recently after word of the new Ubiquity alpha announced by Aza Raskin, which is a kind of plugin that tries […]

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  9. cloud computing for me doesnt put freedom to the users, i mean your data in data center can be stolen or hacked by in personal people. For me , we need ultra light OS ,low price netbook, save power.

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