Coming in Ubuntu 12.10 is a new web apps feature. This allows you to pin sites like Gmail and to the Unity launcher and use them as if they were native apps.

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. – Ubuntu blog

Some of the highlights of these new web apps are as follows:

  • 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
  • It’s a nice idea and it will finally allow me to discard the native email application and head directly to my gmail account instead.

    One thing I’m not sure of though is whether these web apps respect your choice of default browser, or are they tied to Firefox in any way? I’m sure we’ll find out soon enough.