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Canonical claims Amazon integration in Ubuntu is what users want

Says the operating system senses user's intent
Fri Oct 19 2012, 14:45
ubuntu dash

LINUX VENDOR Canonical has defended the integration of Amazon into Ubuntu 12.10 by claiming it is what users want.

Canonical released Ubuntu Linux 12.10 yesterday, which brought tighter integration with Amazon in system search results, a move that has raised some criticism from the community. According to Canonical, Amazon integration in Dash is something users expect and the firm will integrate other online services in future Ubuntu releases.

Steve George, VP of communications and products at Canonical told The INQUIRER, "Users increasingly expect to search. It is driven by two things, firstly the fact that online they search, so naturally they think about searching and the other thing is the total amount of content. [...] The Dash has previously been restricted to only the things that were on your desktop, so where we are taking the Dash so we are trying to pull it so that everything - your personal cloud - all of your online and offline, everything you have in your universe around you, the Dash will be able to search that and find those things for you."

George also highlighted Dash's ability to now search within Google Docs accounts. He said, "The idea being to show you the things that are out there and to start making it something where you can find what you are looking for. Whether you have got it already or whether available in the web universe and is available for you to get your hands on to. It's a development feature in our development release and we are definitely looking to improve it and integrate other services over time."

Canonical has been accused of using Amazon integration to display adverts on Dash as a way to make money. On that point George said Canonical believes the suggestions Amazon will serve to users are just a way of providing more relevant information to the user and added there is a "good level of security".

George said, "'Is it an advert?' is the first question. The reason we are saying it is not an advert is because we believe that your intent is to find something and we are do that for you. We are trying to find the different places where what you are looking for is available to you. Where an advert would be if when you went into the networking application if that popped up some advert, and said before you can connect to this network watch this two minute video."

"I do think it is important that users who don't think this is appropriate and don't want it have the ability to turn it off and we have definitely integrated that," added George.

Canonical might have made it easy to remove Amazon integration, but given that it is an opt-out scheme and even upgrading to Ubuntu 12.10 from previous versions results in a shortcut being placed on the task bar, it does seem that the firm is trying to push users onto the service in order to make some cash. Such actions are unlikely to sit well with the Ubuntu Linux faithful and it is not surprising that Canonical founder Mark Shuttleworth said some features of Ubuntu 13.04 will be developed in a closed beta environment.

George said Canonical did listen to its users, but it might need new users to replenish those who think the firm and the Linux distribution it sponsors are going down the bloatware route by integrating commercial services. µ


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