Searching for something to watch will be much easier in Ubuntu 12.04 thanks to addition of a new default Video Lens.
As well as being able to sift through the metadata of local files stored in your Videos folder based on a search term, the lens is backed by a set of smart ‘remote video’ scopes that query online services such as YouTube Movies, Amazon, indie service VODO and, for British users, the hallowed BBC iPlayer.
It’s worth noting that this Lens does not (currently) search “standard” YouTube, but YouTube Shows, Education and Movies, returning results that are available to stream (some free, some not) based on your search term.
And you don’t need to worry if you don’t see a source to your tastes – the list of supported services is still being worked on.
Unlike Ubuntu’s other default Lenses – which provide standard functions – the Video Lens demonstrates the possibilities that Unity’s Lens feature offers – more so than searching through your files and applications. Few operating systems provide such media-centric features for popular online services in an easily accessible way.
Even OS X, which ships with iTunes and the iTunes Store by default, isn’t as easy to use, not to mention wider in scope, as the Video Lens.
Without ramping the hyperbole up to eleven, I can’t help but feel that this feature – as superfluous as it may seem – could just prove to be one of Ubuntu 12.04’s strongest assets.
Ubuntu 12.04 users can expect to see the Lens appear in the update channels for Ubuntu 12.04 sometime shortly.