Google released Android 12 Developer Preview 2 a month ago, and it gives us some hints that Google may be adding some features to the final release. Among those features is a new search widget, for Pixel Launcher, that will let users search for apps and contacts, Settings, and more on the device.
It looks like this feature won’t be limited to Android 12 on the Pixel phone, as we have some evidence that this feature may extend to third-party launchers. Android 12 will make it easier to search for content on your phone.
The developers of the Niagara launcher managed to find new evidence in the Android 12 preview documentation. The document states that Google will add a new device search API to Android 12; This API will allow third-party launchers to have a common search capability. This feature will give third-party launchers “access to the centralized AppSearch index maintained by the system.”
According to the documentation, the AppSearch index is a search library for maintaining structured data with the following features:
Completely offline stand-alone solution
An API for applications to index and retrieve documents through full-text search.
Provide APIs for applications that enable the system to display content on the system UI surface.
Similarly, an application’s API allows the system to share its content with other specified applications.
This feature will allow users to do their work without using any third-party apps, and will be able to search almost anything on the device directly from the search bar. Currently, there is no information on how this feature will be implemented, but expect more details as the next Android 12 Developer Preview begins to roll out.
A similar feature is available on a variety of third-party apps, but it would be much better to build it directly into Android 12 because it would add to the basic functionality of every device running that version of the operating system.