Lenses are one of the cool new features present in Ubuntu 11.04 and although the OS itself might not yet have been released properly, developers are already exploiting the opportunities that lenses – and the Unity desktop as a whole – provide.

The following lens for Gwibber (Ubuntu’s default ‘social messaging application), weaves your social networking streams through the slick visuals of Unity and makes them easily accessible from the Ubuntu desktop.

When launching the Gwibber lens you are presented with a visually appealing overview of recent tweets, replies and updates from your Gwibber streams and contacts. You can use the drop-down to the right-hand of the search bar to switch to specific views (images, private messages, etc) or type for context specific results.

Gwibber Lens in Ubuntu 11.04

It’s important to refrain from hitting return when searching as this, by default, opens the first result it finds. (In this case a tweet or user in your browser).

Gwibber Lens in Ubuntu 11.04 returning results

The lens launcher itself has a handy ‘quick list’ for launching the lens with a preferred set of information first.

Gwibber Lens in Ubuntu 11.04: Quicklist

Contact results also show up during general searches in the Dash.

Gwibber results in the Ubuntu Dash


The wonderful world of PPAs provides you with easy installation of this lens in Ubuntu 11.04 beta. Add ‘ppa:gwibber-team/ppa’ to your Software Sources via the Software Centre’s ‘edit’ menu or open a Terminal and enter: –

  • sudo add-apt-repository ppa:gwibber-team/ppa
  • sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install unity-lens-gwibber

You’ll need to log out and back in to see the lens appear on your launcher. It should also go without saying that this Gwibber lens requires Gwibber to be configured and running.

Interested in developing your own Unity Lens?

Starting point can be found here.

Download gwibber lenses natty Unity