Mark Shuttleworth explains the Shopping lens decision
Days ago, Unity 6.6 landed in Ubuntu 12.10 introducing exciting new visual additions, eyecandy elements, Dash animation, enhanced Previews, etc, both refreshing and heavily improving the already-polished Unity.
Along with numerous refinements, Unity 6.6 introduces a new lens, Unity Shopping lens, featuring an invisible approach, meaning, while the Shopping lens doesn't have a specific icon (in the lens bar), when the user types on Dash home (probably the Video lens, in the near future)'s search area a word (like superman), the Dash displays matched items from Amazon, items in the sense of web links visually represented by a square "regular" icon (icon unable to contain ads from online services, such as Amazon).
Shortly following the latter mentioned change, various users across the internets have expressed concerns related to ads (factually non-existent), option to block the ads (non-existent ads can't be blocked by an ad blocker), unnecessary Dash population with Amazon items (Unity Shoping lens can be easily disabled/uninstalled via Ubuntu Software Center) and the fact that Ubuntu targets its users as products (the Shopping lens is an isolated package that can, in a matter of seconds, be uninstalled, thus not being a vital critical part of Unity).
Mark Shuttleworth has just published an article, carefully explaining the landing of Unity Shopping lens (as default in Ubuntu 12.10).
Unity features a double-sided approach, meaning, on one hand contains specific specialized lenses (such as the Applications lens, that houses only applications) and "global" lenses/view (such as Dash home, from where users are able to search and access a wide range of both local and online items).
"It makes perfect sense to integrate Amazon search results in the Dash, because the Home Lens of the Dash should let you find *anything* anywhere".
Related to Amazon, "these are not ads, they are results to your search. We don’t promote any product or service speculatively, these are not banners or spyware".
Furthermore, Mark Shuttleworth continues with questions & answers:
- Why are you putting ads in Ubuntu?
We’re not putting ads in Ubuntu. We’re integrating online scope results into the home lens of the dash.
- I don’t wan’t to search Amazon for the Terminal
Use Super-A. You can tell Unity exactly what you want to search.
- I want to control what is searched on the Home Lens
I’m pretty sure by 14.04 LTS we’ll have the kinks unkinked. Till then, come along for the ride, or stick with 12.04 LTS
- This is just a moneymaking scheme
We picked Amazon as a first place to start because most of our users are also regular users of Amazon, and it pays us to make your Amazon journey get off to a faster start.
- Why are you telling Amazon what I am searching for?
We are not telling Amazon what you are searching for. Your anonymity is preserved because we handle the query on your behalf. Don’t trust us? Erm, we have root. You do trust us with your data already.
In summary – please don’t feed the trolls. We’re interested in feedback in what sorts of things would be useful to search straight from the home lens, and how to improve the search results, as well as provide better control of the process to you.
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