This is still an issue on 14.04. From the moment the desktop appears
until the first search result shows up on the dash it's a good minute
and a half on a moderately fast laptop (i5-4200M, 8GB RAM, 7200rpm hdd).

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https://bugs.launchpad.net/bugs/919801

Title:
  Unity dash file search is extremely slow

Status in Unity Files Lens:
  Incomplete
Status in Zeitgeist Framework:
  Incomplete
Status in “unity-lens-files” package in Ubuntu:
  Confirmed

Bug description:
  When I try to use the Unity dash search feature to navigate to files
  and folders, it is extremely slow. For example, if I hit the super
  button to launch the search and then type "Pictures" to get my
  pictures directory, it takes almost 5 seconds for the folder icon to
  show. In comparison, if I use Gnome-Do to navigate to my Pictures
  folder, it's basically instant.

  I have attached a video screencast so that you can see the problem for 
yourself.
  --- 
  ApportVersion: 1.23-0ubuntu4
  Architecture: i386
  CompizPlugins: 
[core,bailer,detection,composite,opengl,compiztoolbox,decor,move,vpswitch,place,session,imgpng,mousepoll,resize,gnomecompat,regex,snap,grid,wall,unitymtgrabhandles,animation,expo,ezoom,workarounds,fade,scale,unityshell]
  DistroRelease: Ubuntu 11.10
  InstallationMedia: Ubuntu 11.04 "Natty Narwhal" - Beta i386 (20110413)
  NonfreeKernelModules: nvidia
  Package: unity 5.0.0~+bzr1825ubuntu0+611
  PackageArchitecture: i386
  ProcEnviron:
   PATH=(custom, no user)
   LANG=en_US.UTF-8
   SHELL=/bin/bash
  ProcVersionSignature: Ubuntu 3.0.0-14.23-generic 3.0.9
  Tags:  oneiric running-unity
  Uname: Linux 3.0.0-14-generic i686
  UnreportableReason: This is not a genuine Ubuntu package
  UpgradeStatus: Upgraded to oneiric on 2011-10-14 (99 days ago)
  UserGroups: adm admin cdrom dialout lpadmin plugdev sambashare

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