Title Ubuntu Lens Information
About Ubuntu Lens
Ubuntu introduced Lens in Ubuntu 12.10, allowing interaction between the Ubuntu user and external resources via the Unity desktop dash component.This Lens has been known as "Shopping Lens", "Online Search Results" and "More Suggestions" in essence these are all the same thing.
What Does It Do ?
The Home 'scope' aggregates data from multiple other scopes including local searches and online results. For example opening the Dash and searching for "doc" might return local results for document viewers & document editors such as Evince and Libreoffice. It may return results for local document files such as .docs and .pdfs. It may also (if enabled) search online and find music, videos and other content such as Doc Holladay music and Doctor Who wikipedia entries. The Music lens may also show online results for songs and the Video lens may show online results for videos. Searching the Files and Applications lenses (with Super+F and Super+A respectively) do not search online, however the Applications lens may search the local package cache to find installable programs matching the search criteria.
Frequently Asked Questions
A lot of Ubuntu users often ask questions about this functionality, how does it work ? what does it do ? am I safe ? and many others. This section tries to address the common questions to give reliable information rather than guesses and theory
Where Do My Searches Go?
The search only goes to the Canonical product search server(s) which proxies requests on to providers like 7digital, Wikipedia, Reddit and Soundcloud.
What Data Is Submitted?
Only the search terms typed into the Dash Home, Music and Video lenses are sent to the product search server(s) and then from there on to 3rd parties.
What Triggers The Submission Of Data?
Typing search queries in the Unity Dash Home lens which is reached by pressing the Ubuntu logo at the top of the Unity launcher or pressing the Super (Windows) key alone. In addition the Music Lens and Video Lens can be triggered with Super+M and Super+V respectively.
How Is The Data Submitted?
Traffic sent by the dash to productsearch.ubuntu.com is sent via SSL on port 443.
How Do I Temporarily Avoid My Data Being Sent?
Searching for files with Super+F, applications with Super+A will not trigger 'More suggestions' queries.
How Do I Permanently Disable The Feature?
Open System Settings, navigate to Security & Privacy and set "Include online search results" to 'off'. The change takes immediate effect.
How Do I Remove The Feature
Write something for 12.04
12.04 is supported so write a removal guide
Write something for 14.04
14.04 is supported to write a removal guide
There is a lot of information on the internet regarding this the following links may be useful to provide background on the Ubuntu Lens application
Jono Bacon's Blog Post About Lens