How Ubuntu Turned Search in the Dash into a PR Crisis

While Ubuntu’s upcoming phone and tablet dominate the headlines, an existing controversy is threatening to flare up again as the 13.04 release nears. The display of Amazon search results in the dash, which first became an issue in the 12.10 release, is erupting again as Ubuntu plans to extend the feature to dozens of other websites. The company also plans to add direct payments from the dash and more suggestions.

Ubuntu has been displaying music search results in the dash for several releases. However, the music results were drawn from Ubuntu’s own music store, and those who use the dash to search for applications on their hard drive may have never noticed them.

What changed in the 12.10 release was that, as a result of an affiliate deal, Amazon results appeared by default when users did even a local search. The results are forwarded to Ubuntu, which passes them on to Amazon.