Useful Ubuntu Unity Lenses For Ubuntu Oneiric

One of the best feature of the Unity desktop in Ubuntu is the lens. Lens are the search feature in the Dash. Different lenses allow you to perform search functions, for example, the Music Lens allows you to search for music that you have recently listened to while the Applications Lens searches for all your applications in the system. In Ubuntu Oneiric, it comes with three default lenses, namely the Applications lens, Recent Files/Folders lens and the Music lens. Below are several useful lens that you can add on to your system.

Note: The lenses listed below are for Ubuntu Oneiric only. There are several other lenses that are available for Natty only and I purposely left them out of the list. Most of the lenses below will work with Natty too, but some of them have different packages name, so the installation method might not work.

1. Ask Ubuntu

Are you an active user of AskUbuntu? Or that you have plenty of questions about Ubuntu and is always looking to AskUbuntu for answer? Good news for you, the AskUbuntu lens allows you to search the AskUbuntu site right in your desktop (Dash).



sudo add-apt-repository ppa:askubuntu-tools/ppa
sudo apt-get update 
sudo apt-get install unity-askubuntu-lens
sudo apt-get upgrade

Log out and log in again.

2. Bookmarks lens

Bookmarks Lens allows you to search your web bookmarks directly from the desktop.



sudo add-apt-repository ppa:nilarimogard/webupd8
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install bookmarks-lens

Log out and log in again.

3. Gwibber lens

If you have connected your various Twitter, Facebook and accounts, you can now search your tweets, status update or message directly from Dash. There are also ways for you to filter results to show only messages, replies, link, images, videos etc.



Click here to install, or in the terminal, type:

sudo apt-get install unity-lens-gwibber

Log out and log in again.

4. Google Books Lens

For those books lovers, you can now use the Google Books lens to look for ebooks in Google Books.

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:davidc3/books-lens
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install unity-lens-books

Log out and log in again.

5. Gdocs Unity Lens

Do you always use Google Docs to manage your documents? You can now use the Google Docs lens to search your documents from the desktop.



sudo add-apt-repository ppa:nilarimogard/webupd8
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install unity-lens-gdocs

Next, open up the file and scroll down to line 124.

gksu gedit /usr/bin/

Replace GDOC_USERNAME with your Google username and GDOC_PASSWORD with your Google password. Save and close the file.

Lastly, run Unity Gdocs lens:
setsid unity

Sources: WebUpd8

6. Web Sources Place

Would you like to be able to search the web without having to open a browser? This is what Web Sources Place is about. It allows you to perform a web search and returns a list of sources instead of pages (e.g. a search for a band name might list MySpace, Wikipedia, Amazon and as results, but not individual pages thereon).


sudo add-apt-repository ppa:cscarney/unity-web-place
sudo apt-get update 
sudo apt-get install unity-place-websearch

Note: The PPA has stated that it is working with Oneiric, but I have not been able to get it to install.


The lens feature was introduced in Ubuntu Natty and has only become more mature in Oneiric. As of now, the number of lens for Ubuntu Oneiric is still very limited. Hopefully, more developers will come out with more useful and handy lenses for the platform. As for the lenses mentioned above, you don’t have to install all of them. Just grab the ones that you need will do.

What other lenses do you use in your Oneiric?


Damien Oh started writing tech articles since 2007 and has over 10 years of experience in the tech industry. He is proficient in Windows, Linux, Mac, Android and iOS, and worked as a part time WordPress Developer. He is currently the owner and Editor-in-Chief of Make Tech Easier.

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