We've seen two OTA updates that take away local search options, namely the Sprint Galaxy S III and the AT&T Galaxy S III. In case you've been hiding under a rock for the past month (and I wouldn't blame you one bit) you know that Apple takes issue with the way Android can search the Internet and data on the device from one search box. We're not going to argue the merits of that case tonight -- it's been done and it makes my head hurt -- but we do want to know how many folks out there use it to begin with. Let's find out, in tonight's poll.


Reader comments

Late-night poll: Do you use on-device search?


I dont because the standard browser is not nearly as functional as others. If it was, I would use it all the time.

There should be a 3rd option: Sometimes. I use it to look up a phone number from time to time but other than that I don't. But it does come in handy when I do use it.

Absolutely I do, and this is why I think what Apple is doing is crap. I got really used to on-device search from webOS, they had that down to an art. It's a feature I really like, and Apple really sucks for taking it away from users.

Former webOS user too. Palm owned, and still owns, the best universal search-and-launch functionality. But, I do use search on my GNex pretty regularly. Whenever I get out the old Pre 2 to marvel in its wonder, I always start 'Just Typing' a message for old times sake. :-)

Amen, Brother! Still can hear Rodger M. when he was with Palm utter that phrase "Universal Search" (right before he said the Pre eats iPhones for breakfast)! Makes me wonder what would have been if Google, instead of HP, had bought Palm (and all of their patents).

I guess they could come up with some workarounds. Maybe you type/say your search term and it asks you if you want to search web or local, or two search bars that both take what you are typing/saying at the same time, then you tell it what you want.

I am new to Android, having retired my webOS phone just a few weeks ago. The webOS search is the only feature that I really miss. I've found the android search is lacking even before apple forced manufacturers/carriers to dumb it down. I've been searching for an app that would duplicate it, but so far haven't found one.

Totally agree. I used the search function on the Pre almost every time I turned the phone on. Got to the point I rarely pulled up the app drawer.

Android's just isn't as nice as what webOS has/had.

As another former WebOS user I'm surprised how little I use the search compared to on my old Pre, its mostly because its nowhere near as convenient to get to as you actually have to pull up a search box to use it. I do miss the days of just typing to start a search.

More than being less convenient to get to (1 button vs. zero buttons is significant), Android's local search couldn't search the apps/things I needed it to.

webOS still doesn't have any real replacements for the built-in apps (like iOS, but for a completely different reason) and that made Just Type very reliable. Whereas Android has replacements for just about every app. Contacts searches in Android were tied into the stock Contacts app on my Photon and not the Go Contacts app that I used. It trained mebnotbto use it.

I don't actually use this feature on my Nexus S 4G. Which is kinda strange because I used the same feature in webOS on my Palm Pre (RIP) all the time. Come to think of it, shouldn't the shade of Palm (or HP? Meg Whitman? the webmaster of or whoever owns all of Palm's patents) be suing Apple et al?

I've used android devices for a while now and never used the on device search until I started reading all the stuff with the patent lawsuit. Decided to start using it and say I will have to find ways to continue using if Google doesn't find a way.

I use it at least once a day. Just read earlier today that Apple has over 50% of patent suits out right now. So sad that a company resorts to suing others because they can't get their act, and merchandise, together and produce a quality competitive phone.

I generally agree, but I'm pretty sure that stating Apple can't "produce a quality competitive phone" is ridiculous. They seem to be competing just fine, lawsuits or no lawsuits.

I disagree with you on that. Apple can`t compete with competitions that`s why they suing them. Almost 50% of the people I know they`re buying the IPhone, because their friends has it, no other reason they can give you. And you can see them how the change when they seen the Android device. Apple has no option for their users like Android, unless you jailbreak u IPhone which is make it no the real IPhone.

Apple is suing because the have a fiduciary duty to their shareholders to protect their IP.

The real problem is not Apple, it is the patent system that allowed a patent to be issued for this that is the problem.

No beef, but pointing out that Almost 50% of people you know != 50% market share. The iPhone has less than 1/3.

Domestically (US) feels more like 50% though. Seems like the rest of the world is bigger on Android adoption.

I do from time to time. Usually when I'm just searching for something on the web in a rush rather than opening my web browser and searching from there. Quicker to just hit the search button.

But for finding anything on my phone, I don't.

Another former Palm Pre user who uses it often. It's the easiest way to find installed apps, contacts, initiate a Google search etc.

Never have found of use for it, though by accident ill use the search bar and ill see something on my phone pop up. But by then ill have already typed and searched for it in the web and won't bother noting it. The function for searching a contact seems pointless as I will just open my phone dialer and type either the first letter of the name or numbers of phone # and it pops them up, so I don't need it for that as its pointless and slower IMO. But I guess if my rooted TB was bloated beyond function(no longer with Bullydesensed1.6, thinned again with another patch I can't remember running hololauncher) then I may need to find the junk that i wouldn't use and have hidden in my app drawer stiil hate crapple and their weak attempts to halt androids inevitable takeover. I take that back..too many weak minds that rely on crapple to keep them that way..they will always be thorns in googs side..

Recently I started - mainly because it's nice to say "What is the temperature" and the local temperature is displayed and spoken to me on a whim!

No, I do not use the on device search function or even the quick search box at all for that matter. After I root my device, "Google Search" is one of the apps I uninstall.

I do use it to search for things on Google I find it easy to press the button at the bottom and search away. I came from a palm pre and would use it all the time as well.

I know where all my stuff is, no need to search. I go to app or location and find what I want. Through a search you only really skip the search in the files.

Yes. Easiest way to launch an app on my docked transformer is just to start typing from the home screen.

Was gonna say something similar. I like hiding some apps from the app drawer (Apex Launcher) and then simply using the search function to pull them up that way.

I don't use it, but I definitely see its convenience. I also remember this feature on the Palm Pre. Was Palm also violating the Patent or is this a patent Apple received after Palm's implementation.

I have used this since my Palm Treo, and possibly even the Palm m515... can't remember back well enough to differentiate what I did on the Treo and the 515... it sucks getting old(er). ;-)

No, but I am still pissed that it is being removed. There is a special place in Hell reserved for any one who uses competition by litigation. I have already contacted my Senators and my Representative requesting that they look into Patent Office reform. I recommend everyone of voting age to do the same instead of only complaining about it here. I understand that there are more important issues that Congress needs to address, but they don't seem to be bothering with those issues anyway. No company should be able to ban a device based on one small feature. Android phones improve on every single feature of the iPhone. The only reason I would ever recommend an iPhone is if the user doesn't really need a smart phone (the space was intentional). Android phones can be confusing because there are so many options for us to configure, but that is why we love them.

I don't search for local content, but I use the unified search a lot. I've got Wikipedia, IMDb, a calculator/converter and a few other things plugged in the search widget, it's superfast to access what you want and it has suggestions.

I'm pretty pissed off about this. I always used it to find apps that I don't use much. I HATE searching for that icon that I need on 4 pages of apps.

I used it for web browsing a lot then after reading about this patent stuff I started using it for local search. I started to really like it and was worried it was going to be removed. So, I downloaded Gestures which I actually like better.

Nope, never have used it. Not sure why I just don't search on my device much I guess. If I need to find a place I go to maps, if I need to Google something I open the browser because I want to search the web so my mind thinks "browser=web". I can't recall ever using the search button other than the first phone I had to try it a couple times and I always remove the Google search box from the screen because I need room for my Widgets.

I Google all the time, I just do it different.

Not efficient. I really like the WebOS "justtype" and was hoping Google would expand on this. Less button clicks to get to where I want to go. Windows Phone * is looking pretty good on that end with Metro.

I used it daily, I have hundreds of contacts as use my phone for business so quite often I use voice to call "contact name" mobile. SO i guess thats searching the phone for info. Other than that I don't thin i use it.

I don't use it because I have a file explorer and know exactly where everything is on my phone, and I just go straight to the specific apps to search. I've always removed the Search bar widget off my home screens and never used the dedicated button either.

But... from my experience in "IT" over the last 15 years, most people don't understand file systems and these people don't know where their files are located on their computer (or phone). I couldn't tell you how many times I've setup a new computer for someone and then they come back to me and say "where are my files". And I tell them "they are exactly where they were on your old computer". But, since they now lost their history in "Recent" files within Excel or Word they have no idea how to find them, because they never know where they put them in the first place. So, for these people the search capability is essential... and it's even more so on these phones because the phone doesn't give you the option where to save when it needs to.

I do like the idea of it, but I know where things are on my phone so I personally do not use it. But I also like the idea that if I needed to find something on my phone I only need to type it on the search box.

"Local Search" searches everything stored on your phone... including stuff like, files, pictures, music, phone numbers, and apps. Where "web search" searches just the web.

But, the new google search on the phone was searching both at the same time and putting them together on one list.

I don't use it much since it is just an oversized launcher button.I don't know why, but I wish it was an actual live search box when you tapped it instead of launching a search app. That's always bothered me.

I agree that it was more intuitive to use instant device search on Palm since the keyboard was always ready to go. That's the advantage of a hard keyboard, of course, while giving up screen real estate. Not sure I could go back to a hard b after several years now though.

I usually search for contacts from within the phone app, so I don't really use the unified local search, so I guess that's a "no". That being said, Apple should not be able to patent a technology that has existed for a decade.

If you never used it then you probably won't miss it because you're used to just going to the individual apps and searching for things within them. But it sounds like most of us former Palm Pre owners really got used to the idea that you can just type and get to whatever you need from the home screen and not need to load the individual apps first. Now instead of thinking "Search for what I want and then select the appropriate app" it's "Think of and select appropriate app then search".

It was nice being able to just go to one place to get access to anything you wanted to do. no digging through menus or different apps. Palm obviously had the best interface and it was amazing when you hacked it to add search providers. Universal Search and Cards, man I wish palm had stayed in the fight/gone for better hardware.

I don't use it regularly myself, I may have used it a few times, But I am angry that Android is forced to remove a feature that people do use, because of the broken patent system in this country and Apple, who is fighting Android features, to slow android down, just because they don't seem capable of coming out with anything really new.
I would like to note that Apple takes ideas from Android like the notification bar itself, basic software ideas like a notification bar list, a search box to search the device shouldn't be patentable.

Windows and Linux have had device search features for years and years, it's not a new idea at all.

My phone did a update yesterday , I thought that was it but I still have Universal Search... Now my GS3 keeps asking me to update, I'm thinking if I do, I'll lose the feature... Help!

As it stands now, no. For whatever reason, on-device search on the Captivate doesn't have access to the calendar. I'm chalking it up to a Gingerbread or Samsung limitation.

there are two download links in that page link. Which one do we use and does this only work for AT&T and Sprint or will it work on Verizon galaxy Nexus?

I use search whenever I want to find apps not on the home screen. Way more quicker than hitting app tray and hunting for it.

I do, but I use Gesture Search mostly to find apps not on my home screen I've only ever used the search bar for online searches anyway.