The second developer preview (DP2) of Android 12 is out in the wild and it’s offering a ton of new features fully expected to land with the OS update. But Android 12 DP2 may also hint at a new search bar for an Android phone instead of the full web not previously seen in the code, sources suggest. Or at least that may be the case for Pixel phones since that’s where it was activated in its beta form.
How is this new Android 12 search different from what’s already on your phone?
Found first in the Pixel Launcher with Android 12 DP2, the new option starts off as different as can be from the current Google Assistant search bar found on an Android 11 phone. That’s because it starts by seeming to have as little to do with Google as possible. Beginning by abandoning Google logos and other Google services.
Instead, the search results found in the new search bar are only for on-device items. And the results also appear to be kept local. There’s no way to use the search bar to search the web at all.
As shown in the images included below, users can also adjust exactly what is searched for. For instance, users can choose to enable app results, to search their app library. They can also enable search results for shortcuts, settings, contacts, slices from apps, widgets, the Google Play Store, and “nasa.” With each having its own toggle in settings.
The last of those search result types, conversely, is a complete unknown. The ‘nasa’ results would presumably be labeled “NASA” if they had anything to do with the spacefaring organization. So it’s presently thought that ‘nasa’ is a codename for something else.
Is this coming?
As noted earlier, this is still a very experimental feature. The UI itself appears unfinished and it wasn’t fully functional either. Setting aside that it had to be activated separately in the Google Pixel Launcher as well, potentially pointing to a Pixel-specific Android 12 feature.
Android 12 is expected to be ready for launch sometime in August, in the interim. And Google will roll that update out to Pixel handsets in short order, following that announcement. So it shouldn’t take too long, at the very least, before everybody’s given a better look at exactly what Google’s aiming for with the newly spotted feature.
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