I've been interested in the Ubiquity add-on for Firefox since I first heard about it, and wished that it had fared better. It seems mostly dead now, but I think we can fix this. Here
's a quote from the developers of Ubiquity:
Being relatively new to the Mozilla world, we found it difficult and time-consuming to write extensions to Firefox. There is something largely last-decade about requiring restarts to add a new feature to your browsing experience. It’s ironic that the entire Web is on a push model, yet the browser—the most fundamental tool of interacting with the Web—is on a pull model.
shows a basic overview of creating Chrome extensions.
The core idea of Ubiquity is, in my opinion, a lofty but worthy goal: Allow users to not just find, but DO things with the web, in the way that is most natural to them - telling it what to do. That's my interpretation, anyway.
FARR and other launchers were built to do things with your computer, using objects that are (compared to the web) static and rigid. Tools like Ubiquity are different because they should be designed to do things with the Internet, in all its 404 error glory.
Ubiquity is open source, so at least there'd be a starting point.
I've come across some other things that I think are relevant:
- Siri - A personal assistant that performs tasks on iPhone based on voice queries.
- WordNet - A categorized database of the English language.
- FreeBase - A huge database of all sorts of interconnected topics.