Firefox 3.2 to integrate natural-language commands

Remember Ubiquity, that experimental Firefox extension that lets users input natural-language commands like “map this” and “share-on-facebook?” In an interview with Firefox architect Mike Connor, the folks at PC Pro learned that Mozilla will integrate Ubiquity’s functionality into the next major release of its web browser—not Firefox 3.1, which is already close to gold, but the future 3.2 release.

Ubiquity is still available as an experimental browser extension from Mozilla Labs, and developers have written scores of custom commands for it. The extension needs users to bring up the command input box by hitting control-space, but according to Connor, Firefox 3.2 will integrate it right into the address bar. Firefox’s address bar (a.k.a. the “Awesome Bar”) already does automatic keyword searches in users’ history and bookmarks.

Aside from Ubiquity integration, Connor said Firefox 3.2 will include a “lightweight theming” feature that will let folks “customise the design of the browser without downloading separate extensions.” The new browser will also feature Prism, a feature that can turn web apps into “pseudo desktop apps” with their own Windows shortcuts—something Google’s Chrome already implements.

Comments closed
    • sigher
    • 12 years ago

    I hear they now use the ‘awesome bar’ to make prisoners talk and confess to made-up charges, and it’s working better than waterboarding..
    And now they want to make it even worse by making the addressbar become ubiquity interface too? well isn’t that nice.

    • Saber Cherry
    • 12 years ago

    I look forward to typing,
    “Computer, please connect to §[<http://www.tech-report.com<]§." That will be so much easier that the current unintelligible system.

      • eitje
      • 12 years ago

      and how about the first time it says “no, it’s time for you to go to work.”

      • indeego
      • 12 years ago

      When the computer barks back that /[

    • Palek
    • 12 years ago

    Heh, Google Ads served up an ad for Google Chrome at the top right of the page. Smells fishy.

      • indeego
      • 12 years ago

      smells smart to me. Where else to advertise your browser but on pages where people are finding out news about browsersg{

        • BobbinThreadbare
        • 12 years ago

        Well have you ever considered that fish might be really smart? So long and thanks for all the fish.

        And yes, I know Dolphins are mammals.

      • sigher
      • 12 years ago

      Sounds like you are using IE, or even chrome.

    • Tumbleweed
    • 12 years ago

    #2 – you say that like IE _has_ features. 🙂

      • d2brothe
      • 12 years ago

      My point was exactly that, it didn’t have a lot of features….”firefox was light weight…no extra features not like feature bloated IE” I’m paraphrasing here, but you get the point…IE didn’t have many features, and yet the comment seemed to imply that IE was crappy for feature bloat. I simply say, yes IE has its flaws, but not everything is wrong with it so don’t make stupid comments.

    • adisor19
    • 12 years ago

    Umm FF 3.1 is nearing the BETA 3 release.. Not sure how that qualifies as being “close to gold”…

    Adi

      • indeego
      • 12 years ago

      I believe there are about 10 more engine bugs to work out, then final beta, rc’s(possibly only one,) then gold. Almost certainly less than a month awayg{<.<}g

    • GreatGooglyMoogly
    • 12 years ago

    Ugh, I found Ubiquity to be cumbersome and largely pointless after trying it when originally being quite interested in it. I will file the addition of this under “bloat”. Pretty much everything added since v1.5 has been bloat in my opinion.

      • Meadows
      • 12 years ago

      People who complain about “bloat” care about speed – Firefox is still as fast as its competitors (at the very least), so what do you care?

        • indeego
        • 12 years ago

        Not quite as fast as Opera or chrome….yet. Give it version 3.1 to get thereg{<.<}g

          • Meadows
          • 12 years ago

          As long as there’s a public alpha or beta available, I’ll never use the “dummy release” myself, so I’m using 3.2a here. Seems pretty and quick.

          I’ll never try Opera just because it sounds old, and Chrome is inherently and totally useless from my perspective.

            • d2brothe
            • 12 years ago

            “Chrome is inherently and totally useless”…yea…that sounds like you.

            • Meadows
            • 12 years ago

            You could try something new and argue against it.

            • Tamale
            • 12 years ago

            I’ll bite. Why do you find Chrome useless? I use it for 99% of my browsing simply because of its speed.

            • Meadows
            • 12 years ago

            I don’t like the lack of… everything, plus I wouldn’t trust Google with anything beyond e-mail storage.
            It’s nice that there is a browser for people who like it bare (variety is the spice of life), but I’ll stick to IE and Firefox.

            • Saber Cherry
            • 12 years ago

            Too true. I, also, would trust Google with storing, transmitting, and parsing all of the important communications, transactions, and files that I send hither and thither, to others or to myself. Without a binding legal agreement, the key to and sole copy of a vast swath of my personal, social, and financial history, is what I would trust them with – but that’s it! No way would I trust them to render a web page such as §[<http://www.google.com<]§ which is probably an attack site.

            • poulpy
            • 12 years ago

            Which one of your brilliant points in /[<"Chrome is inherently and totally useless"<]/ was he supposed to argue against again? You could try something new...

            • indeego
            • 12 years ago

            I used to do that as well until I lost all bookmarks from a branch release and had to restore from a backup. It was a needless hassleg{<.<}g

        • GreatGooglyMoogly
        • 12 years ago

        Let’s ignore for a while that “bloat” is only about speed (I’ll get back to that), Firefox’ load times aren’t that hot. The “awesomebar” is damnably slow (at returning results) and pages with a lot of big images on them slow Firefox down to a crawl compared to IE which doesn’t have that problem at all. Firefox has always had that problem. Firefox also thrashes the disk quite a bit compared to other browsers.

        Other reasons to dislike bloat: it introduces bugs, and it adds more and more stuff you need to disable or tweak away, sometimes using extensions to do the job because Mozilla didn’t add facilities to tweak the new features (the “awesomebar” is the most recent and egregious example).

        And lastly, why is it already at v3.0 when, when all is said and done, not much has happened in terms of actual useful features since v1.5… it should be more like v1.8. The v2.0 release was pretty hilarious. Oh, spell check… alright, definitely worth a new major revision number!

        It’s still the best browser but I don’t like the way it’s heading.

          • Pax-UX
          • 12 years ago

          The only thing negative from my point of view about FF is it’s memory footprint.

          But it’s got soooo many killer features I couldn’t surf without it now, true a good number of them are plugs in.

            • poulpy
            • 12 years ago

            Don’t know why this memory thing keeps on surfacing every so often, I haven’t experienced any of this in a long time.
            For example I’ve had FF 3.1b2 open for 7-odd days with a minimum of 8 tabs open simultaneously and hours of browsing in them for a grand total of 113MB used as I write these lines.
            In our days and age when memory is counted by the GB I don’t see this as an outrage really..

            • Flying Fox
            • 12 years ago

            I am on 3.0.5 and I can easily get a few hundred megs while leaving the browser up for a few days.

            My record was like 1.1GiB before firefox.exe just crashed.

            • poulpy
            • 12 years ago

            9+ days and 153MB now, but I guess the use of add-ons to block unwanted advertisement/flash/whatnot or not and the type of website you visit can change the picture quite a lot.

            That being said to me memory is there to be used not saved for the sake of saving so be it the OS or apps I’m fine with them caching lots of data. Well as long as they give some back when needed if they’ve cached up the whole memory 🙂

            That and I usually shutdown my computer at night (energy savings and all that) so things don’t have much time to go crazy.

    • Scrotos
    • 12 years ago

    /me waves to Mike

    • Corrado
    • 12 years ago

    I thought the idea of FireFox was a slim browser you could customize into exactly what you wanted? By adding everything in by default, isn’t it just becoming the same thing IE has been for the past 5 years?

      • d2brothe
      • 12 years ago

      Why does everyone harp on IE, security and web standards were its problem…not that it was to heavy weight. Firefox is a much heavier browser than IE 6. It is however, becoming much heavier, but it has to compete.

        • asdsa
        • 12 years ago

        Yeah, standars like HTML and CSS ruined IE.

        • Corrado
        • 12 years ago

        Right, NOW its a much heavier browser. Back in the 1.x days, and the Firebird days, it was meant to be a slim lightweight browser that was fast. If you wanted to mod it with the features you wanted, then you got plugins. Now it seems like its trying to be everything to everyone out of the box, instead of letting people pick and choose their features. I don’t want this natural language commands, I don’t want lightweight themeing, and I don’t want desktop app shortcuts to webapps. I want a web browser that browses the web that if I want those things I can goto the Mozilla plugin repository and add them.

          • Flying Fox
          • 12 years ago

          As they want to enter into the mainstream they will have to keep doing that.

          A la carte features with user picking and choosing plugins will always remain a geek thing, which is the minority.

          Just like Seamonkey breaking off because they want integrated email, I can almost smell another branch coming that goes back to its roots. Then again it will probably never break out of the low percentage share thing.

            • Saber Cherry
            • 12 years ago

            I agree with Corrado. And in case you haven’t noticed, Firefox IS mainstream, just not dominant. It will never win over people who will always stick with the preinstalled browser because they don’t know the difference between MSN, the internet, and internet explorer, let alone what it means to download a file.

            The only people Firefox can win over is people who want a faster, leaner, more secure browser than IE, and are computer literate. It has most of those people. Adding bloat and changing into something more like IE will only lose them.

    • derFunkenstein
    • 12 years ago

    so when’s 3.1 coming out?

      • Vasilyfav
      • 12 years ago

      This quarter.

      • dmitriylm
      • 12 years ago

      Winter

        • Tamale
        • 12 years ago

        ha. nice reference to the ‘release dates as seasons’ comment we had earlier.

        i saw what you did thar 🙂

      • Meadows
      • 12 years ago

      No idea, but I’ve been testing Minefield 3.2 alpha versions with no problems experienced and good speed/comfort.

      • BoBzeBuilder
      • 12 years ago

      Eventually.

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