I get the point readily enough. Auto web search got disabled on upgrade. Dash sending searches in under-handed spyware fashion is indeed despicable, whether it can be disabled or no, without asking or telling.
Except that, for the nonce, I flat out don't care. The only things I've searched via Dash have been some of the configuration utilities that either came with the install or ones I've added that I either didn't make a short-cut for, didn't show up in the menu (classicmenu-indicator was the first extra thing that I installed), or I can't easily find on my own. If Canonical wants to sell that minimal un-useful data to someone doesn't make me no never mind.
The rest of Unity? I don't care. Launch bar/Unity bar, whatever it's called, sits along the left edge of a wide-screen monitor with smaller-than-default icons and is a convenient place to park a few often-used apps. Desktop shortcuts and classicmenu-indicator serve the rest of those needs, and the OS itself basically just works for the little that I use this system for - surfing, email, a bit of writing, a few games, and some media consumption.
I'm just too old and too bothered by other crap to give a rat's patoot about something that doesn't affect me. But damn straight I'm watching them to see what they might pull next. I'm lazy enough not to want to switch distros but will if I think I need to.
The only thing that really bothers me, daily, is the lack of built-in ability to alter the size of the mouse cursor system-wide, something easily done on Windows. None of the work-arounds have.... worked around that. This simplification of interface/configurability for we poor noob users has gone way too far. May the fleas of a thousand camels invest the nether regions of any devs involved in that, unto the tenth generation.