Canonical has been working hard to redefine the desktop. Quite a lot of features in Ubuntu 12.04 set it apart from Windows or Mac, and to some extent make it a competitive OS. Mark Shuttleworth, the founder of Ubuntu, today announced a new feature for the next version of Ubuntu which offer a better desktop integration with the web.
Steve George of Canonical explains, "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."
Here is a cool video of Web App
Isn't It Just A Link To The Website?
No, it's not. What the web apps do is not only create a shortcut on your desktop so that you can launch those apps from withing your Dash, but also integrate the service with the desktop tools such. A simple example would be Last.fm. All the options to control the media such as play, pause, etc will integrate with Ubuntu's Sound Menu and you will be able to use keyboard shortcuts to manage Fast.fm.
- It will also allow you to manage your social network from with the desktop. You will be able to access and launch your social media accounts (Google+, Twitter, Facebook) from the Launcher, and get native desktop notifications. Which means if you got a comment or plus on Google+ you will get notification from the system notification.
- Shotwell is already working hard on enhancing the user experience (face detection is coming) and Ubuntu will make it even easier to upload your images to Facebook using Shotwell.
- Windows already support pausing and playing YouTube videos from your keyboard and Web App will bring the same capability to Ubuntu and put it on par with Windows.
- It will also integrate Gmail with the desktop and you will be able to check how many unread emails are there.
Jono Bacon, the community manager of Ubuntu says, "Integration of web apps can utilize pretty much any part of the Unity desktop (e.g. HUD, Indicators, Menus, Quicklists, Launcher, Alt-Tab) to feel truly integrated."
He further adds, "Adding support doesn’t require convincing the web app provider to support Ubuntu, we can build support without modifying the core web service at all (although a web service provider can add support for Ubuntu if they like). More details of this will be coming soon."
So, all these features of Web App makes Ubuntu an appealing choice for users. With Dell showing interest in Ubuntu once again, these improvement may eventually make a dent in Windows market and make users more comfortable with Ubuntu.
As I wrote in this article, Ubuntu is ready for the mainstream PC market and Windows 8, with its Metro UI, may give Ubuntu the little push it needs.