Google Chrome is really pushing the envelope in the browser experience. With their latest build, they added in this cool little feature in their omnibar. Unlike Internet Explorer and Firefox, the URL bar doubles as a search bar. I definitely like it it better as one.
In the latest build, Chrome is going down a really interesting path. They added a feature where you start to type a URL like youtube.com and then press tab. This will allow you to search youtube. They call it Quick Site Searches with the Omnibox. Out of the box, this searching works ONLY with search engines. You can add custom search engines which is a little complicated, but it works. By itself, I wouldn’t call this a fantastic feature.
However, if you consider the movement happening with the Ubiquity project, one could envision other things they will do with the omnibar. Instead of just the search, one could type map-TAB and automatically be searching locations or yelp-TAB and be looking for restaurants or other more complex verbs. Like calendar-TAB which gives you the choice of adding an appointment. Now, keep in mind, all of these ideas are conceived by Aza Raskin. Aza is publically experimenting with this UI. I think it’s extremely interesting work.
Apparently, Google is watching Aza too. My fear (prediction?) is that Google will do a better job of implementing Ubiquity than Mozilla. If I could make a suggestion, not that it will reach the right ears, but you never know.
Google should partner with Mozilla and build Ubiquity together into their respective browser bars in the exactly the same way.
This would ensure that the project would be a success and create a de-facto standard. Microsoft “may” even be pressured into supporting the standard as-is. However, the worst possible outcome would be 3-4 different verb sets with different UI which would make this a niche feature.
I don’t have any illusions. I know it will be a hard and painful road as it has always been. Overall, I think this is a great path which could change the future of using the web.