Google is working on ways to improve the excellent new search features in the Pixel Launcher with capabilities like widget search and more.
The changes were spotted by Esper’s Mishaal Rahman (via Android Police). Rahman was able to enable hidden flags in the Android 13 Developer Preview 2 Pixel Launcher to turn on the new search capabilities.
With the capabilities, Pixel Launcher’s search can pull up widgets, screenshots stored in Google Photos, and display Google search suggestions.
The Pixel Launcher’s search bar (powered by the Android System Intelligence app) will soon show results matching widgets, saved screenshots, and Google search suggestions.
— Mishaal Rahman (@MishaalRahman) March 21, 2022
Android Police notes that the screenshot results were rumoured to roll out late last year, but the rumoured release never happened.
Overall, the improvements look welcome — as things currently stand, finding widgets on your Pixel can be cumbersome. Finding screenshots this way seems neat, although I’m not sure how often I’ll need to quickly pull up screenshots from my app drawer.
As for adding Google Search suggestions, that’s mostly meaningless to me since I hardly use Google Search, but as long as it doesn’t bog down the Pixel Launcher search bar, I don’t mind the addition.
With the launch of Android 12, Google added a whole new system search to the app drawer in the Pixel Launcher. Powered by the ‘Android System Intelligence’ app, the system search is blazing fast and a great way to quickly find apps and, sometimes, the content within apps. For example, I often use the app drawer search bar to look up settings and jump straight to the one I want instead of scrolling around in the Settings app.
Unfortunately, these changes don’t appear to fix my biggest pet peeve with the Pixel Launcher: the Google Search bar pinned to the bottom of the home screen. There’s nothing wrong with the search bar per se, but I hate that it’s specifically a Google search and not the much-improved (and way more useful) system search.