Mozilla just ensured I won’t use IE8 because it released Ubiquity.
What is it? It’s a box that lets you ask different questions and get answers. It’s sort of like search. But far more powerful.
It’s not for non-passionate Internet users. They won’t get it. It takes some time to learn how to use this feature. (To get what I’m talking about when I use the term “passionate” you should see my previous rant about passionates vs. non-passionates).
To really learn about how to use Ubiquity you need to:
How many “non-passionates” will do either of these?
But for someone who is radically passionate about the Internet this is a feature that’ll keep us all using Firefox and will deepen the divide. I was talking with a group of journalists from USA Today and Business Week here in Berlin and they admit that most of their readers are on Internet Explorer. One told me that his family members didn’t know why they should use Firefox and don’t care to learn about it. They’ll just stick with the defaults on their computer and not question them.
I doubt I’ll show this feature to too many “non-passionate” people. It’s too hard to explain.
But when I get to a group of people who want to more productively use the Internet? You bet!
Oh, and Microsoft, you could easily do something similar and not just for Internet Explorer, either. Look into ActiveWords. Hook that up to Web services and you could have the same thing.
Why hasn’t Microsoft purchased ActiveWords? For the same reason they won’t do something like Ubiquity in IE8. Microsoft doesn’t really care about the passionates anymore and cares more about the people who read USA Today.
Oh, Over on FriendFeed they are talking about Ubiquity.
Ubiquity is also at the top of TechMeme, which shows that passionates are the ones who still control that tech blogging site.
UPDATE: Brandon LeBlanc disagrees with me about IE8 and says that its “Activities” feature is proof that Microsoft cares about passionates.