Android Central

There's a new over-the-air update rolling out for the international Samsung Galaxy S III (aka Galaxy S3 GT-i9300) this evening. The OTA message identifies it as a "stability update," but what it also does is remove local (on-device) search functionality in the phone's built-in Google Search app. The new version -- XXBLG6 -- is a relatively recent build, having been cooked just a few days ago on Jul. 20. A new baseband version, XXLG6, is also included, but we haven't noticed any other changes thus far.

Following legal action by Apple, which temporarily resulted in the Galaxy Nexus being banned in the U.S., Samsung has taken to pre-emptively disabling the ability to search within on-device data (like contacts and applications) on some U.S. Galaxy S3's. However, the decision to kill local search on the unlocked international model -- which isn't sold in the U.S. -- is a little perplexing, not least because Apple has yet to challenge Sammy over local search in the EU or UK, where the GT-i9300 is sold.

What's more, marking this solely as a "stability" update seems a little underhanded, as users aren't being informed that the latest OTA disables functionality which was included with their original purchase. Nevertheless, local search is now gone on the international Galaxy S3, a decision which makes Samsung's leading smartphone a little less smart. We're sure folks are working on hacking local search back in as we speak, just as we're sure Apple will pursue some other tactic in its efforts to block the S3 from sale.

If you're down with preemptively crippled search functionality, you can grab the 27MB OTA package through Samsung's software updates menu on the phone, or through the Kies desktop app.

There are 34 comments

Yanking the feature is understandable . . . but honestly does anyone actually use the search for LOCAL search? I mean I play around with it to see what I pull up... but It's really not that useful for me... I never actually use it.

LCW says:

Exactly. It's far from a critical feature. Who really cares...

ljredeye says:

I never use it. I know exactly where everything is on my Dinc2. I have other apps to do the searching for me, if I want to.

The Shag says:

I use it like the Dickens! Just because some people don't doesn't mean everyone doesn't!

DrDoppio says:

Don't install the update then.

homunuculus says:

Well it may not be used by a most users, its still nice to have the option though.

pckocher says:

I use local search (or did, when I could) constantly! I had the Palm Pre years ago, and got into the habit of just typing whoever I wanted to call, text, or e-mail, and then choosing the icon for the action I wanted. I am really struggling without it!

leobloom says:

I still use the Just Type search bar when I fire up webOS on my TouchPad and I used it all the time on the Pre and Pre 2 I had, so I naturally just use it on my Galaxy S3 it just seems normal and is better than scrolling through the list of installed apps etc, it really does save time and means I don't have to have lots of home screens too, I just type and find what I need straight from the search bar on my home screen and I will miss it if I have to update my Galaxy 3, I have noticed though that it still is available on the Play store for my Galaxy W... :(

I tried Quick Search and Aurora Universal Search Pro both are ok, QS is cleaner looking but no transparent search bar may suggest it to them!

grellanl says:

Use it all the time. Honestly, when you want to just launch apps and not keep swiping around screens, it's the best way going.

There's a reason that QuickSilver and similar solutions on the desktop were already popular, way before Spotlight/WinSearch/Google Desktop/Ubuntu Unity etc made this the de facto way of launching apps. It's just super efficient -- you type and go. And on mobile, Android, RIM and WebOS have done this for years too.

If you haven't been doing this, give it a try on both mobile and desktop. You might be impressed.

Losing features because of one company abusing the patent process like this pisses me off.

randyw says:

Apple strikes again!

Oilersboy says:

if apple force android to remove local search then apple should remove on their own too. problem solved !

lol I still don't have the previous OTA released around July 6th :p

GinoSylum#AC says:

Its time Google fights back and makes apple remove their notification bar...

dcds says:

Agreed. Cross-licensing notifications with local search is too little. Notifications down, or else much more than just local search.

m1n3 says:

I can do that with my blackberry torch. Why apple not sued RIM? Because apple know that they will not get anything from RIM? :)

DrDoppio says:

Because by going after Android they affect the largest number of people. apple believes that all of its users should be happy to take abuse, so some people may want to switch to apple after having their device, os, or feature of choice pulled from the market...

Well that and because RIM had the feature first and if it ever went to court the patent would almost certainly be invalidated since RIM can show prior art.

Davest says:

Which begs the question - if that's the case, why doesn't RIM go after Apple?

TLB69 says:

Im pretty sure somebody will miss it,but difftly understand your point.Samsung couldve told poeple what their takin away.I agree with Alex,a little underhanded,IMO.Now,if this lawsuit would make Sammy push JB to all devices,now that would be sweet.Come Apple,hit'em with something to make them push JB over!!!

marisdaman says:

Does the apk we used to reinstall the feature for our U.S. version work on international? I want my cool features that I don't use, especially if Apple doesn't want me to.

noszero says:

I had a Palm Pre and I use it. If your not used to it you don't miss it but I learned on WebOS to type and let the phone do the work. Its a nice feature once you get used to it. If you never had cruise control on your car you would not care if they took it off before you picked it up but once you use it you will care. Just my humble opinion.

pckocher says:

Ditto. I replied to the first post before I saw yours! The Pre got me hooked.

crazycheetah says:

This is precisely why it confuses me that they would need to go to the extent of completely removing it... I could swear that I remember using local search features to some extent on Palm and WinMo smartphones before the iPhone even existed (and never used BB much but could swear I've seen it on those back in the day, too)... there has to be something that is actually significant about the way Apple is doing it that Android is also doing the same (which makes it start to sound like an obvious invention to me...), or the entire patent is bunk (either way, my rooted GNex doesn't care, as I'll have it so long as it's available on my favorite ROMs still--hope it would be the same for the S3 and any other Android phone for that matter; although it really shouldn't have to come down to that kind of ridiculous level).

Wicell says:

I'm pretty sure if you just reinstall the old .apk, it will restore local search, that's what I did when I got my update from Sprint.

slashnburn says:

I believe you can, but you have to change permissions apparently.
Here`s a walkthrough, not tried it yet myself

(copied/pasted from link above - creds to eyecon82)

NOTE: You need ROOT! and probably Root Explorer, so you can change permissions, I did it all through the phone, I'm sure you could also use adb but this seemed simpler. Also, I don't think this can in any way break your phone, but just to be safe, make a backup, at least in Titanium, and don't blame me if something goes wrong.

1) Download the apk at the beginning of this thread, place it on your SDcard (or phone) where you'll find it easily.
2) Install root explorer (or equivalent, I used root explorer though)
3) Go to /system/app and mount as R/W
4) move GoogleQuickSearch.apk somewhere else, just so you have it if you need to restore it
5) Go to where you placed the full-featured apk, copy/move it to /system/app
6) Long-Click on GoogleQuickSearch.apk, select permissions, and set to rw-r--r-- (ie, row 1: yes yes no, row 2: yes no no, row 3: yes no no)
7) Hit okay, mount R/O, and quit
8) Go to Settings > Application Manager > All
9) Select Google Search, and clear data/cache
10) Select Google Services Framework, clear data/cache
11) Reboot
12) ???
13) Profit!!!

(link to fully featured .apk)

(UPDATE)I can now confirm that the above tutorial works - typed in "tit" and up popped titanium backup.apk

Kozmo says:

Wait, I typed "tit" into a Google search and I got something very different...

verngator says:

This works fine for me. Apple sucks!

Harzach98 says:

Wait with this update stop me from using navigation?

slashnburn says:

I`ve heard that the download is 27MB or thereabouts - my download was 795 MB just sayin`...

spudskier says:

So sick of patent lawsuits and Apple. Cannot even imagine how much farther things would have progressed if they didn't factor in.

Just install Quick Search from Google Play !

Jmaxku says:

Question? Does anyone know why this hasn't affected version 4.1.1 on the Galaxy Nexus yet. My local search capabilities are fully functional.

hormosapiens says:

sgs3 on att. i updated with latest ota and now local search is gone. i want it back just because apple doesn't want me too. this patent logic is going to blow up soon. its sick. greedy apple... if it goes like this, will you hold the right for taking a shit in the front of one infinite loop? says:

Well Vodafone UK have not rolled out this update or the last so i can still use this so is my phone illegal and why has Samsung not rolled this out to all there phones if this is so important