Introducing Ubuntu Web Apps: setting the web free of the browser

These days, we spend more time online – working with docs, email, music and occasionally even accessing social media. But, our online and desktop experiences have been disjointed. We give applications the full run of our desktops, where they have their own icons and windows, but we trap the whole Internet inside one overworked application, the browser.

That’s why we’ve been working on a way to integrate the two worlds – something to make it just as easy to run a web application as a traditional app. And we’ve been working to give web applications access to the full range of desktop capabilities.

At OSCON today, Mark Shuttleworth revealed Ubuntu Web Apps, a new feature due to land in October’s Ubuntu 12.10 release. It will enable Ubuntu users to run online applications like Facebook, Twitter, Last.FM, Ebay and GMail direct from the desktop. Making web applications behave like their desktop counterparts improves the user experience dramatically; it’s faster and it reduces the proliferation of browser tabs and windows that can quickly make a desktop unmanageable.

The apps can even take advantage of Ubuntu’s new HUD system, making it even easier to navigate. So Web properties leap to the forefront of modern UI design, making for amazingly productive, fast and fluid applications on the desktop.

That makes Ubuntu the best platform for the web – secure, fast and lightweight. This new feature is part of our drive to make the web a first class part of Ubuntu. We’ve already turned 40 popular web sites into Ubuntu Web Apps and there are plenty more on the way. It’s easy to integrate your favourite website or interface natively into the desktop, and share the result with all Ubuntu users. No other OS has come close to this level of integration between the web and desktop.

To see it in action check out this video:

 

 

Some examples of what users can do with Ubuntu WebApps:

  • Launch online music site Last.FM directly from the Dash and control the music from Ubuntu’s sound menu
  • Access and launch your social media accounts (Google+, Twitter, Facebook) from the Launcher, and get native desktop notifications
  • Quickly and seamlessly upload photos to Facebook from Shotwell
  • Pause and play the video you are watching on Youtube
  • See how many unread messages you have in your GMail account, in Ubuntu’s messaging indicator

Ubuntu Web Apps will be available as a preview for Ubuntu 12.04 LTS soon and will be available by default in Ubuntu 12.10. I think we’ve made something that’s about to radically change users’ expectations of the web!

 

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