Recently there has been some concerns in our community about the online dash search feature, and these concerns have been orientated around the privacy of your data, the legal requirements for how this data is handled, and the effectiveness of the search.

These concerns have been taken very seriously inside Canonical and there has been extensive work going on to ensure we can tend to any outstanding issues ready for the 12.10 release. It is important to remember that this is the nature of how we develop Ubuntu; we often add features that later require additional focus and work based upon feedback in the community. This is just the nature of collaborative community; our community helps us to refine and improve Ubuntu in many ways based on feedback. I want to offer a sincere thank-you to everyone who has provided constructive, frank feedback about what we need to do to improve this feature and bring it in-line with the needs and expectations of our users.

So far in this story there has been a series of concerns and actions in response to this feedback. This is summarized as:

  • Concern about the usefulness of the feature – to resolve this a toggle switch has been added to the Privacy settings dialog to disable/enable the feature.
  • Concern about the encryption of traffic – traffic is now encrypted.
  • Concern about adult content being displayed via the lens – significant changes have been made to blacklist certain results based on keywords.
  • Concern about the legal requirements of this feature under European law – a Legal Notice link has now been added to the dash to make the terms of use clear for using the dash.

In addition to this, Cristian Parrino, our VP of Online Services at Canonical, who is basically in charge of Ubuntu One, our affiliate schemes, and who is responsible for the affiliate portions of the dash (e.g. Amazon/Ubuntu One Music Store results) has provide some further responses to these concerns.

Cristian published a blog entry – be sure to take a look.

Please feel free to ask any further questions in the comments. Thanks!

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