Following the removal of local search (or universal search) in the latest over-the-air update for the Samsung Galaxy S III (Galaxy S3), the manufacturer has released a statement addressing the issue. Samsung says that the removal of the ability to search content on the device from the Google Search app was "inadvertent," and that it will be restored for GT-i9300 owners in a future update.
Here's the statement Samsung released to UK site TechRadar --
"The most recent software upgrade for the Galaxy S III in the UK included the inadvertent removal of the universal search function. Samsung will provide the correct software upgrade within the next few days."
As we pointed out at the time, the removal of local search from the international S3 was a puzzling move, as Apple has yet to challenge Samsung over the feature in the European courts. Now it seems the loss of local search was most likely the result of programmer error, rather than Samsung hedging its bets and seeking to avoid further litigation.
In the U.S., the Sprint and AT&T Galaxy S3's have had the feature stripped out in over-the-air updates, as a precautionary measure, following legal action by Apple over local search, which temporarily resulted in the Galaxy Nexus being banned in the U.S. Unfortunately it's unlikely those phones will see local search return anytime soon, but at least it's good news today for international S3 owners.