The upcoming operating system from Canonical, Ubuntu 12.10 (Quantal Quetzal), has gotten a lot of negative publicity because of the problems that arose from the introduction of the Shopping and Amazon lens. The company has issued some clarifications of the matter.
The biggest concern of the Ubuntu's users is about privacy. How is it protected by Canonical? What is Canonical doing with all the data it gathers? All these questions were answered by Cristian Parrino.
“Communication between client and server has been encrypted by serving results over HTTPS, This has introduced some latency to our search-as-you-type implementation and we’ll be optimizing it over the next several months,” said Parrino.
With regard to the privacy issue, Canonical's representative argues that “We are adding a legal privacy notice to the dash and this will be easily accessible to all users. For reiterated clarity, we have no intention of either storing or sharing user-identifiable data beyond what is necessary to deliver the intended search service. We have always recognized the trust that Ubuntu users place in Canonical and in Ubuntu, and we take data privacy very seriously.”
Other problems encountered by users, with the Shopping lens, included the fact that some searches returned NSFW images (Not Safe for Work). A filter has been installed, server side, and most of the content should be safe now, although some stuff might get through.
“Content not safe/suitable for work (NSFW) appearing in search results when not wanted is now being filtered out via a number of client and server side changes and the use of black-listed terms applied to search-as-you-type,” explained Parrino.
Unfortunately, it's too late in this development cycle to implement further improvements, but Ubuntu 13.04 should come out with all these problems sorted out. Some updates, launched after Ubuntu 12.10, could also include more features that will limit the way the Shopping and Amazon lens impact the use of the operating system.