Google’s introducing a new feature that lets users search for content inside the apps on their Android phone through a single search box.
Aptly titled “In Apps,” the new search mode is designed to build a bridge across all your various services — not just Google — to make finding stuff easier. So rather than going to your email app or messaging app to manually find a message, or to Spotify to search for a song, you only need to hit a single search box. It’s basically “Google Search” but built for the smaller microcosm that is your smartphone.
For now, the feature is limited to a handful of apps, but it’s clear how useful this feature will prove over time when more third-party services are connected.
In terms of how you set it up, all you need to do is head to the Google app on the phone and select the dedicated “In Apps” tab along the top. However, LG announced its latest flagship smartphone yesterday, the LG V20, and on that phone you will have access to a shortcut, which effectively serves as a standalone “In Apps” app. There’s nothing to suggest that this won’t be possible on other smartphones in the future.
Since the advent of the smartphone era, countless companies have introduced universal search products designed to unearth content across all your services. Just this year, a company called Findo launched an iPhone app to help you find locally stored or cloud-based files across Facebook, Dropbox, Google Drive, Evernote, Box, Gmail, Exchange, and Outlook. But such applications are limited in terms of the number of apps they can garner access to, plus they require manually configuring the third-party app to “speak” to the other services.
With In Apps, Google is bringing native universal search to your installed apps, including Gmail, Spotify, and YouTube. Expect more to come in the future — such as Evernote, Facebook Messenger, LinkedIn, Todoist, and Google Keep. And there’s no reason this couldn’t work with literally every installed app on your phone, though it will likely require buy-in from each app-maker for that to happen.
The new In App search tool is rolling out for all Android phones today, so if it hasn’t reached you yet, it’s just a case of waiting.