On my quest for ever smaller icons and ever smaller finger movements on my Acer Aspire One Natty Book, I have come across GNOME Do. This is an application launcher based on the Mac's Quicksilver and Gnome Launch Box.
It's brilliant, and saves time and space. Hit the magic keys to invoke the GNOME Do spell, and then start typing in what you want, then hit return. For example, type in Fir… & it comes up with Firefox. Type in a friend's name, and it will suggest sending an email to that person.
I've only just started, and already it's become a darned-useful must-have or-else. Buy a copy today! Oh, I forgot, it's free, like pretty much everything on Ubuntu and Linux.