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[How To] Add A Wikipedia Lens to Unity For Faster Fact Finding

We’ve all been there: you recognise the face of that guy in that movie – but you can’t recall his name; or you’re 3 names short of listing all the states in America.

These are pretty rubbish examples of what Wikipedia – the world famous collaboratively maintained encyclopaedia- is useful for, but they are, nevertheless, real-world instances of Wiki scratching an intellectual itch.

And in Ubuntu you can scratch this itch even quicker by adding the ‘Wikipedia Lens’ to the Unity Dash.

wikipedia lens for unity

Wikipedia Lens

There’s nothing magic about the lens. Once installed and selected you just type in search terms related to what you’re looking for. The lens then displays as many results as it finds.

Clicking on a result will take you to the topic page in your default web-browser.

Simple.

So how do we install it?

How to Install Wikipedia Lens in Ubuntu

The Lens isn’t yet available to install through the Ubuntu Software Center but it can be installed from the ‘Scopes Packagers’ PPA.

This PPA provides packages for Ubuntu 11.10 and 12.04.

There are two ways to add the PPA. The fastest method is to open the Terminal application and run the following two commands separately, inputting your password when prompted.

  • sudo add-apt-repository ppa:scopes-packagers/ppa
  • sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install unity-lens-wikipedia
The second method is to manually add the PPA – highlighted in bold  above – to your Software Sources – accessible via the ‘Edit‘ menu in the Ubuntu Software Center.