All your base are belong to Canonical
Sep 24, 2012 (about 7 months ago)
Why are you telling Amazon what I am searching for?
We are not telling Amazon what you are searching for. Your anonymity is preserved because we handle the query on your behalf. Don’t trust us? Erm,
we have rootall your base are belong to us. You do trust us with your data already. You trust us not to screw up on your machine with every update.
Sorry, I could not help myself. Seriously though, Mark Shuttleworth’s argument is technically correct, but I think he could have made it in a more diplomatic fashion, especially when he starts his next paragraph with:
In summary – please don’t feed the trolls.
All joking aside, I do feel for Mark and the Canonical folks. It seems that whenever they try something new which has even the slightest hint of commercialism, they catch a tonne of flak. Yet, I rarely read any praise about the sums of money Mark must have personally invested into the project. To me, it all seems just a little unfair.
Anyhow, regarding the new Amazon feature, I think I can understand why it is being implemented, but as many commentators on Mark’s blog have already mentioned, I think this type of service is best suited to a user’s web browser. Erm, unless the aim is to make money, in which case, it makes perfect sense to incorporate affiliate links into an OS’s GUI.
Also, anonymity issues aside (they don’t really concern me too much), my main concerns would be:
- vendor favouritism and the possibility that users might not be given, or shown the best deals. I mean, Amazon is normally pretty competitive, but it can often pay to shop around. In which case, a web browser would be the preferred tool.
- UI clutter. In comparison to performing other tasks, such as opening applications and searching for local files, how often would the average user open Unity’s dash with the intention of shopping on Amazon? I do not know, but I would question the ratio and therefore I would also question whether Amazon’s (or any other vendor’s) products should be featured at all.
That said, in his blog post, Mark also states:
What we have in 12.10 isn’t the full experience, so those who leap to judgement are at maximum risk of having to eat their words later.
So, it will be interesting to see how this develops. Also, if you have not read it already and you are at all interested, Jono Bacon has written a compelling blog post that highlights the benifits of the recent dash improvements. Personally, I think the jury is still out.
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