Ubuntu's Amazon search feature gets kill switch
Source: Jono Bacon
Ubuntu Community Manager Jono Bacon has announced revised plans for Canonical's controversial Amazon shopping lens that was included in the first beta version of Ubuntu 12.10 released earlier this month.
According to Bacon, the developers are working on a toggle in Ubuntu's Privacy Manager which allows users to switch all online searches off. This approach means that users who do not want the offered results from Amazon will have to switch integrated online searches off globally throughout the Unity desktop. This will also disable online search in other applications such as the microblogging client Gwibber and other Dash lenses that search the web – disabling the YouTube integration in the video lens, for example.
The Amazon integration in the shopping lens has been controversial and some users have called it advertising as Canonical is earning money through Amazon referral fees. Canonical founder and Ubuntu project leader Mark Shuttleworth said that, in his opinion, the feature does not constitute advertising and that users can easily circumvent it by only searching locally.
With the planned toggle, the Ubuntu developers are providing users with another way to disable the inclusion of Amazon results in their Dash searches, albeit at the expense of losing all online search functionality built into the OS. A patch for this has already been merged in the Ubuntu development branch and should be included in today's beta 2 release of Ubuntu 12.10.