Search has always been a major component of Android – after all, the operating system was created by Google. But one of the system’s greatest tricks is reserved for Google’s own launcher and widget: the ability to search both your own apps and web search results. This feature may come in all starters and applications in the near future, according to the Android 1

2 developer documentation.

To be specific, we’re talking about the behavior you see when you search from the Google Gadget, either in the Pixel launcher or using any other launcher with the gadget placed on your screen. This search has access to both Google’s web search data and the list of apps installed on your phone. Third-party launchers cannot do this in their own list of applications. For example, Nova Launcher’s drawer search has links to search for a query on Google or the Play Store, but it can’t populate the list with anything but entries from your own installed apps. It is possible to extend this with third-party tools such as Sesame Search, but at the moment this is far from a smooth experience.

Current search in the Nova Launcher application, limited to a list of applications installed on the device, without web integration.

The update was noticed by the developers of Niagara Launcher and posted on Twitter. Entering the AppSearchManager API, according to its documentation, allows each application to activate the centralized AppSearch index, possibly even involving actions in the application. Such as searching Google Doc or finding a specific local photo indexed in a gallery app. This is a feature that reflects more powerful local search tools, as seen on Windows and MacOS, and even the standard search feature built into the iOS home screen.

OnePlus’s OxygenOS Scout Search Tool

OnePlus has already created a customized search conversion like this, and this is one of the features we hoped would reach Vanilla Android. We haven’t seen this more extensive AppSearchManager tool implemented in Android 12 Developer Preview yet.