File this one under “One More Reason To Like OS X”. Although Quicksilver has been around for a while (Rob made brief mention of it last year) I just discovered it after following a short rabbit trail that started with a Lifehhacker interview with 43Folders’ Merlin Mann. I can already see how this app will change the way I do things.
What it does is create a catalog of items on your hard drive — applications, files, contacts in your e-mail app, bookmarks in your web browser, whatever — and use that catalog to open items and execute tasks within specific applications. All you do is hit the hot key (Control-Space) to open up an application switcher-type floating window. Type in the first few letters of what you’re looking for or what you want to do, and it’ll create a shortcut for it on the fly.
For instance, when I wanted to write this post, instead of launching Safari then pulling down in my toolbar bookmark list to the Gadgetopia MT New Entry page, I hit the hot key, typed the letters “gad”, used the arrow key to scroll down a list to the right item, and hit enter. If I wanted to e-mail Deane, all I need do is click the hot key, type “deane” and hit enter. Quicksilver launches Entourage and creates a message to Deane using the address information in my address book. No mousing involved at all; just a few quick keystrokes. And that after spending only a few minutes familiarizing myself with the app.
In the end, Quicksilver has one very important effect… The effort associated with frequent tasks fades into the background and you are able to act without thinking. After an adaptation period, Quicksilver becomes an extension of yourself; the process fades away leaving only the results.
Hopefully Apple doesn’t commandeer the concept and integrate a “Quicksilver Lite” into a future release of OS X.