Google Pixel phones, such as the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro, have a few software tweaks and extras that set them apart from the rest of the Android market, and it appears that another major new feature is on the way.
The Pixel Launcher (what you see on the first home screen) is being prepared for a search upgrade that will match queries to results inside a variety of additional apps, including Google Maps, YouTube, and the Play Store, according to code spotted by another news source.
If you search from the Pixel home screen right now, you’ll get results from your phone’s files as well as the Google web search engine. This functionality appears to be on the verge of being expanded in the near future.
Better search features
Of course, the enhanced search capabilities will save you the trouble of having to go into specific apps like Google Maps or YouTube and conduct searches from there. It appears that you may be able to use the same feature to search Android Settings.
The Pixel Launcher should, however, include search shortcuts for the aforementioned apps when it is released to the general public. This means that if you type a text query into the search bar and then tap on an app shortcut, the launcher will most likely send your exact query to the corresponding app.
When combined with the Pixel Launcher’s ability to bring up widgets, saved screenshots, and Google Search suggestions in the search bar, it should make the launcher’s search functionality a lot more useful.
A word of caution, though — interpreting unfinished code is always tricky, and even if the news source has correctly identified the new features, there’s always the possibility that Google will decide not to implement them.
It’s unclear when or if other Android phones will get the same functionality, or when the Pixel phones will get the search upgrade. It’s possible that this will be released as part of one of Google’s regular Pixel Drop updates.
It’s Pixels’ moment to shine
Since 2013, when the first Pixel and Pixel XL phones were released, the fortunes of the Google Pixel series of phones have been up and down. Google, on the other hand, appears to be on the rise with the Pixel 6 series.
The Pixel, according to Google CEO Sundar Pichai, is the fastest-selling phone model ever. Now, that may be a low bar to clear – and he didn’t reveal actual sales figures – but the general consensus is that Google has finally released a smartphone that can compete with Apple and Samsung’s offerings.
Of course, for any phone to succeed, it must have a great combination of both hardware and software, and it is in the latter area that Google can truly excel. It excels at search and AI more than anyone else, and the enhanced version of Android that it ships with its Pixel phones should reflect that.