The changes Ubuntu made has been met with some resistance from the Open Source community. These changes were criticized from three different angles.
- Is it fine to integrate online search with local search?
- Is Ubuntu going ad supported?
- It is a security risk
Should web search appear in local search
This is not the first time someone has tried to integrate web and local search. Google started the Google Desktop project way back in 2008 which allowed text searches of a user's e-mails, computer files, music, photos, chats, Web pages viewed, and other "Google Gadgets". But Google, the search engine expert, did not see any potential in integrating local and web searches and discontinued the project on 2011. Google did try to offer system wide search integrated with it's Google search but had to discontinue as Apple held some stupid patent on it. However, this seems different from what Unity Dash search is offering. Google allowed users to enable or disable the 'services' or sites they wanted to include in the unified search.
So, how different is Unity Search?
Mark Shuttleworth maintains that Home Lens of Dash is a place to search everything. “The Home Lens of the Dash is a “give me X” experience. You hit the Super key, and say what you want, and we do our best to figure out what you mean, and give you that.”
Google's unified search was an enhancement as it enabled a user to search local files and apps from the same search bar – something that a user needs. That's what Dash used to do – to allow me searching local files and folders. On Android the same search bar also allowed users to conduct online searches. What Dash is trying to do is bringing web search to it, opposite of what Google tried. This makes things complicated.
In its current form Dash shows local files, folder as well as applications along with results from the Ubuntu One Music store and Affiliated links from Amazon.com. Mark however gives hits at a wider integration with web services. I do like the idea of integrating web services with Dash, what I am not sure is turning Dash into the Firefox 'search' box. Is it worth doing when it's just a browser away?
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