After seeing a screenshot on the desktop tour in the Ubuntu web site, I noticed something interesting…
A screenshot showed some icons for Google Apps in the Add/Remove application. I thought to myself, “How can this be?”
After upgrading to Hardy Heron, I wanted to find out, so I headed to the Add/Remove application under “Applications” > “Add/Remove” and searched for “google.” Several applications came up. A Gmail checker, some other random applications, and then… Jackpot!
Those who have followed my blog already know my liking of web-based applications. From just about all the Google services to ThinkFree Office, I have been using many applications. This has allowed me to test many systems on my laptop, without having to worry about unsaved documents or pictures being lost forever.
What I found, were several applicaitons for Gmail, Google Docs, Google Calendar, and several other services. They all were said to run on an application called “Prism.” After doing a little research, I found that Prism is built by Mozilla, and is basically a simpler browser that does not have navigation menus, so that it is better suited for running web applications. Those applications, such as Gmail, Google Docs, etc., all fall in the web application category. See the screenshot below for a better picture:
As you can see, Gmail is running not on the desktop, but inside a slimmed-down browser for use with web applications. To launch Gmail, I simply went to my “Internet” menu under the “Applications” menu, and selected “Google Mail (Gmail).” What you see in the screenshot above is what happened next. Note the small icon in the lower-right corner of the brower window. It includes a small menu to edit the preferences of Prism or to print the current page.
You can also make custom applications with Prism, and then create desktop icons. For example, I could create a Prism application for WordPress or Blogger. You can find all of the above applications in the “Add/Remove” application, and once you install any of the Prism applications, the standalone “Prism” application is installed as well, giving you the opportunity to create your own Prism applications.