Mark Shuttleworth Explains Why Amazon Search Results Will Appear In Unity Dash On 12.10

Today I read a post on Mark Shuttleworth’s blog about the justifications as to why Amazon search results will appear in the Dash of Ubuntu 12.10 when you search for something. For example, if you search for “Office” to open LibreOffice there will be additional links for you to buy Microsoft Office via Amazon. Shuttleworth goes on to justify the decision:

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. Over time, we’ll make the Dash smarter and smarter, so you can just ask for whatever you want, and it will Just Work.

Personally I disagree with this reasoning and I can’t help but feel that this justification is a bit of a cop out. If Canonical (makers of Ubuntu) really want us to find “anything” then surely they would have integrated Google search results rather than a shopping site? This way a user could search for literally anything and get some kind of result back to their query.

“We’re not putting ads in Ubuntu” 

Shuttleworth goes on to add a short FAQ section to the blog post, during which he maintains that they are not putting ads into Ubuntu but rather search results from Amazon. Shuttleworth explains:

We’re not putting ads in Ubuntu. We’re integrating online scope results into the home lens of the dash. This is to enable you to hit “Super” and then ask for anything you like, and over time, with all of the fantastic search scopes that people are creating, we should be able to give you the right answer.

These are not ads because they are not paid placement, they are straightforward Amazon search results for your search. So the Dash becomes a super-search of any number of different kinds of data. Right now, it’s not dynamically choosing what to search, it’s just searching local scopes and Amazon, but it will get smarter over time.

Personally I am very dubious about the change as I really can’t see what value this addition adds to Ubuntu. However as I mentioned above, I really think the inclusion of Google results would be a fantastic. I really hope that Canonical aren’t doing this just to make a few extra quid.

What do you guys think of the addition of Amazon search results in Ubuntu 12.10?

Mark Shuttleworth Explains Why Amazon Search Results Will Appear In Unity Dash On 12.10
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