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Google looks to supercharge the Pixel Launcher search bar

Google Pixel 6 Pro Display Home Green
Google Pixel 6 Pro home screen (Image credit: Nick Sutrich / Android Central)

What you need to know

  • Google appears to be working on upgrading the Pixel Launcher's search bar.
  • The update will enable the launcher to show widgets, saved screenshots, and text suggestions in search.
  • It was spotted in the latest Android 13 Developer Preview, though the capability isn't live yet.

With the debut of device search in Android 12 (opens in new tab), Google made the app drawer's search bar a lot more useful (opens in new tab), making it much simpler to search through your emails, text messages, apps, and the web. The search giant seems to be giving the Pixel Launcher's search bar the same treatment.

As spotted by Mishaal Rahman, the Pixel Launcher build in the latest Android 13 Developer Preview (opens in new tab) shows evidence of an enhanced search bar. This improved functionality will bring up widgets, Google Photos screenshots, and search suggestions.

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The search feature isn't live yet, but Rahman noted that flags for this capability have been in place for quite some time now. They had only recently started working.

When it becomes available to everyone, the update will make the Pixel Launcher's search bar a lot more powerful than just displaying apps installed on your phone.

Rahman was able to get a preview of the feature by enabling the relevant flags. It will make finding widgets much easier and faster, as shown in the screenshots above, and it will also streamline your search by displaying relevant suggestions as you type.

The Pixel's home screen will also let you directly search for saved screenshots in Google Photos without having to open that app. It's worth noting that this particular capability isn't entirely new: the Pixel Launcher gained this feature (opens in new tab) in an update late last year.

It's unclear whether the company plans to release the update as part of a Feature Drop for Google's best Android phones (opens in new tab), including the Pixel 6 series. It's also possible that the feature will be included in Android 13 (opens in new tab) when it rolls out to the public later this year.


Jay Bonggolto always keeps a nose for news. He is a tech journalist based in the Philippines who has been writing about consumer tech for the past six years and has been using various Android phones since falling in love with Jelly Bean. When he's not writing, he likes to spend time outside, stealing scenes with his phone camera.