The Ubuntu 12.10 Desktop Includes Amazon Search Results--Users Revolt
While some are calling it a tempest in a teapot, Ubuntu loyalists are expressing fury that the next version of Ubuntu includes shopping suggestions from Amazon directly in desktop search results. Version 12.10 is imminent, and many Ubuntu users feel like the Amazon inclusions are nothing more than adware. What does Canonical get out of this arrangement, and will the company reverse its decision? Mark Shuttleworth has weighed in.
Version 12.10 of Ubuntu has a lot to like, and it has an updated version of the Unity desktop environment, Unity 3D, which includes a range of desktop effects achieved through hardware acceleration. However, Ubuntu fans of up in arms over the inclusion of Amazon results in the desktop search function, and many are concerned that their personal data will be picked up by Amazon.
In a blog post, Mark Shuttleworth responds:
"In 12.10 we’ll take the first step of looking both online and locally for possible results. The Home lens will show you local things like apps and music, as it always has, as well as results from Amazon. Note – 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. These are results from underlying scopes, surfaced to the Home lens, because you didn’t narrow the scope to a specific, well scope."
"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."
It's unclear what arrangement Canonical has with Amazon, although Shuttleworth maintains that the Amazon results are not paid placements. One thing that Shuttleworth's post stresses is that user anonymity is preserved through the arrangement.
How do you feel about this development?