In the aftermath of last year’s election, and the January 20 inauguration of a new president, one thing became clear: things had changed. As I watched CNN coverage, an interesting segment came on demonstrating just how far we’ve come in the past decade, comparing the WhiteHouse.gov website from 1999 to that of 2009 as a demonstration of the giant leaps in technology over the past decade. Technology continues to morph and change the way we conduct our day-to-day business, how we communicate with each other, and even how we get from point A to point B.
Enter Ubiquity, and now the “Widgets” tool that has become so popular in Social Networking and on 3G phones can easily be applied to your email. Ubiquity uses what they call user-generated mash-ups, which allow you to combine things like email and Google Maps and social networking Widgets easily and all at the same time.
The example they (they being Mozilla, the company that gave us PC and Mac users the wonderful force that is Firefox) use is emailing a friend and requesting a dinner get-together. Ubiquity allows you to easily add a map of the location via Google Maps, drop in reviews of the restaurant, and request a mutual scheduling in your daily planner (I believe they recommend Google Calendar). The basis of its greatness: facilitation.
Facilitation means no more cumbersome web searches for applicable reviews or time spent navigating away from your email to find the address. It’s all there and it’s fairly easy to use. And the best part is that you can actually embed these elements into your email, rather than going the traditional route and including cumbersome links. There is even a Twitter Widget for Ubiquity that allows you to Tweet remotely!
The new product isn’t without its bugs – for example, attempting to Tweet in an earlier version crashed my browser, which was fixed recently but required the installation of Growl, a Mac-based app that alerts users of updates from the various applications you are currently running. At this time, Ubiquity is not even in Beta form – it’s in Alpha version 0.1. To be more specific, they released Ubiquity 0.1.7 the final week of March.
Now, I’ve only used Ubiquity to update my Twitter account and create Tiny URLs (and I added a map to an email once), which is a mere surface scratch. Ubiquity is much, much more as you will see in the following video. It takes User Generation to the next level: from accessing dictionary definitions to translating foreign language websites for you, to even creating your own Ubiquity add-ons/mash-ups. Honestly, I got extremely excited while watching this video – I cannot wait to try some of these features myself!
To be ubiquitous is to be everywhere and the online world is making that a reality. As we migrate more and more of our daily activities into the web to manage our lives daily, tools like Ubiquity will become more and more an integrated part of our life. It goes to show that not only having a solid online presence, but enhancing that presence to be as open, modern, and accessible as possible is becoming more important than ever.