Google is testing a next-level search bar in the Pixel Launcher

Google is testing a next-level search bar in the Pixel Launcher

Pixel phones (and some Nexus devices before that) have a custom home screen app launcher developed by Google, though it’s not quite as feature-packed as some third-party launchers or home screens from other manufacturers. Thankfully, it looks like the Pixel Launcher could receive a helpful upgrade in the near future.

Mishaal Rahman of Esper discovered that the Pixel Launcher build in the latest Android 13 Developer Preview has an updated search bar, though the functionality hasn’t been activated yet. Once it’s enabled, the search bar in on the home screen and app drawer will be able to search for widgets, saved screenshots, and Google search suggestions. For example, you won’t necessarily have to open Google Photos first to quickly check for images, which saves you from a few extra taps.

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The search seems to be working once the required flags are flipped, so we might see a full release of the updated functionality soon. Google could include it in the Android 13 update coming later this year, or perhaps sooner in a Pixel Feature Drop. The company recently started publicly testing the next Android Quarterly Platform Release, which will likely be released as a June Pixel Feature Drop.

Other manufacturers have offered similar search abilities in their home screens for a while now. iOS has a more powerful system-wide search, which pulls data from contacts, emails, phone calls, and other apps. The search bar on Samsung’s One UI home screen can also search across your phone and the web, including system settings, YouTube videos, and other locations.

Android 13 Developer Preview 2 also has runtime permissions for app notifications, improved Japanese text wrapping, a new Text Conversion API for languages like Japanese, COLR fonts, MIDI 2.0, Bluetooth LE Audio, and other changes. Check out our main Android 13 Developer Preview 2 coverage for more information and all download links for Pixel phones.

Source: Mishaal Rahman (Twitter)

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Corbin Davenport
Corbin Davenport

Corbin is a tech journalist and software developer. Check out what he's up to at corbin.io.

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