Our long term goal is to make sure that no matter what situation, any information you come across has a firm connection to all other relevant data that you would ever want to access. Ultralink technology was born on the web, but we have a couple of exciting projects brewing that bring it to more places where you interact with information. The Ultralink Windows App Alpha is our first step in expanding the scope of where Ultralinks can operate.
To Boldly Go Where No Ultralink Has Gone Before
The Ultralink Windows App is a 64-bit, native Windows application that sits passively in the background. It's modeled very closely after the Ultralink browser extensions and there is a decent amount of feature overlap. There are a few major differences though:
- Instead of analyzing content in webpages, it overlays Ultralinks on top of other Windows application content.
- Content analysis and Ultralink overlay is now primarily done on the fly when the user hits a lookup trigger (the F7 key by default).
- It includes the Ultralink Search Bar. A new UI paradigm for quickly accessing Ultralink resources through search (similar to Spotlight).
In the Ultralink Windows App, you hover your mouse over any text that you see in the OS and hit a lookup trigger. At that moment, the app uses a combination of the Windows Automation API and OCR to get a hold of the textual content under the mouse cursor and send it up to the connected Ultralink Server for analysis. It can grab text from almost anywhere and seamlessly overlay on top of any application without its knowledge or permission. Now you can do a deep lookup on any concept you see in a spreadsheet, your native email client or that app your company still uses and just can't seem to retire.
Risk-Free Application Augmentation
Much like the browser extensions, the Ultralink Windows App can be used to explore concepts that you happen to come across as you use your computer. But you can also think of it as an extremely risk tolerant, high iteration development environment for the applications you already use.
Many applications that want to enable additional functionality have a plugin or extension system that developers can use to add new features. But each work completely differently from each other and they often come with a lot of caveats and restrictions. You might use some applications that are no longer supported or that don't get new features quickly because they are considered 'mission critical' and cannot tolerate very much development risk. You can use the Ultralink layer to quickly and easily add new features and service integrations to any existing application with zero risk to the underlying program (even in alpha, one of our customers is already doing this).
We consider the current release to be in 'alpha' status, and as such you can expect a few bumps and rough edges. Version-wise, our released builds of the Ultralink Windows app are higher than the currently released versions of our other stable products. This is because it's using in-development versions of our code for future releases.
We also have some exciting (but different in nature) aspirations for Ultralinks on iOS (stay tuned).
If you are willing to kick the tires and give it a try, we would love to hear any feedback you might have. Bug reports and feature requests are always welcome. Feel free to shoot any to [email protected] or chat with us directly on the Ultralink Community Slack.
A couple other notes to consider:
- The Windows Automation API and the OCR library aren't perfect and will make mistakes from time to time.
- The application itself and the install MSI are not signed.
- The application is self-updating and will automatically and silently update itself in the background when newer versions are available.
- Limited to 64-bit Windows only. Tested on Windows 7 and Windows 10.