Android 13’s new search launcher lets you pin recent searches to your home screen

Android 13’s new search launcher lets you pin recent searches to your home screen

The new shortcuts make it easier to return to frequent searches

Android 13 Beta 2 landed during Google I/O this May and is packed with interesting features and subtle design changes. The new version also brings a brand new home screen search experience that elegantly combines on-device and web search, complete with smooth and satisfying animations. If that’s not enough to get you drooling over it, the new experience also lets you pin recent searches right to your home screen.

As teased by Mishaal Rahman when examining the code in previous Android 13 versions, the new search experience is available both from the search bar at the bottom of the Pixel home screen and from drawer search if you swipe up anywhere on the screen . The former used to just launch the Google Search app’s input box, while now it’s part of the launcher itself, complete with a Material You-colored background based on your wallpaper. It offers a row of app suggestions at the top and a recent searches collection above the keyboard. You can either dismiss the search by swiping down or use the home gesture.

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Launcher search vs Drawer search

When you swipe up on the home screen to reveal the app drawer, the keyboard now opens automatically as well, but the screen still shows all your apps before you start typing, letting you just navigate through the entire list instead can scroll.

Overall the experience is much smoother as it is now handled entirely by the launcher rather than just serving as a quick shortcut to the correct Google search app. The transitions between the search interface and the launcher are much smoother than ever when handled by two different apps. Third-party home screens have understood this for a long time, with some of the best launchers collaborating with Sesame shortcuts to create a device-wide search experience completely managed by them, UI-wise.

As discovered by SmartDroidthe new home screen search even goes one step further. If you tap and hold the icon next to a recent search, you can move it to the home screen for quick and easy access in the future. While this has technically been possible with Chrome for a long time (you can just click the overflow button in the top right corner and select “add to home screen” when visiting a Google search), this new positioning makes the process much easier and quicker. It invites you to temporarily or permanently save an important query or website on your phone, whether you’re tracking a flight, a sports team, a news event, or even Covid cases.

However, the new search experience doesn’t seem to be 100% complete yet. While it’s possible to browse for apps on your phone again (which was broken in beta 1), you can no longer find system settings, contacts, and in-app content. This should hopefully be fixed before the final version comes out in the fall, at least we would hope so.


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