More online integration is coming to Ubuntu in its next release, Canonical have announced.
Ubuntu 13.04 will ‘fulfil’ the goal of the Unity Dash to be a one-stop global search tool. It will include more ‘Scopes’, a new relevancy ranking system, and a wider range of commercial product suggestions.
This, Canonical are hoping, will allow users find whatever they need – be it online, local, or commercial - direct from the Ubuntu desktop.
So what can we expect?
More Scopes, Better Results
The most notable change will be even more ‘scopes’ – small, modular and specific ‘search engines’ for the Dash – in the default Ubuntu install.
A wider range of sources being searched means a wider range of results to be displayed.
To prevent the Dash from being over-populated with irrelevant ‘noisy’ Wikipedia, Amazon, Flickr, etc results a new feature will be added that only displays ‘the right [results] based on relevancy’.
Something the current Amazon Lens could certainly do with!
…A mix of local and online results.
As an example, searching for the band ‘Coldplay’ will fetch results from your local music collection, and scopes such as YouTube, Amazon Music, Last.FM, etc.
This ‘mix’ of online and local results will be determined by a new ‘smart scope service’, created with the aim of retyrning ‘ranked online search results’ to Dash to ‘balance against local results to return the most relevant information to the user.’
Instant Purchasing of Music & Apps
One of my faovurite features in Ubuntu 12.10 is the ability to install free applications directly from the Dash, without the need to open the Software Center.
For Ubuntu 13.04 this ‘instant installation’ idea will be expanded to encompass the purchase of music from Ubuntu One Music and apps and eBooks from the Ubuntu Software Center – mo browser needed!
This, Canonical say, will ‘…deliver the fastest possible purchasing experience directly from the Dash.’.
More Commercial Suggestions
Although unlikely to be welcomed by some, Ubuntu 13.04 will expand its commercial suggestions to include results from additional online retailers and services.
‘refined privacy options will be introduced’
But, unlike the ‘first’ iteration of the Shopping Lens that caused so much controversy, Canonical appear to be approaching this second version with a new, more considered focus.
New filters for narrowing down shopping results are currently being tested, and refined privacy options for disabling/curtailing the data-espousing tendencies of online scopes are to be introduced.
Whether these changes will be enough to placate those not sold on the idea of commercial results remains to be seen…