Google’s search powers now extend to your Android apps


New search mode can hunt for keywords hidden within app, even when offline

For all Google and Alphabet’s many strange tech dabblings over the years – from self-driving cars and eyewear to healthcare and robotics – nothing has ever felt quite as natural a fit as the ability to hunt down data from websites and the touch of a keyboard and mouse. It’s where the company first made its billions, and like a multi-award-winning rock star performing an encore of their first hit, there’s something quite reassuring when Google announces a new search product. That’s what Google has done, so lighters out, everyone.

This particular search product is for the Android operating system. “In Apps”, as the name suggests, lets you search for contacts, photos, videos and songs from within apps. Right now it works with a handful of popular apps including Gmail, YouTube and Spotify, but over the coming months, support will be added for the likes of Facebook, Messenger, LinkedIn, Evernote, Glide, Todoist and Google Keep. Writing on the Google search blog, product manager Timo Mertens explained that this could even be done when the handset was in Airplane mode, because it uses data stored on your handset. “Only you can see your personal results, and you can control what apps appear by going to Settings within the Google app.”

The LG V20 will be the first handset to launch with In Apps as a dedicated shortcut on the homescreen, but any Android handset should be searchable as soon as you update the Google app.

It’s a useful-sounding feature, which reflects exactly how integral smartphones have become to our lives. Once upon a time, we wouldn’t have needed to search within our apps because there was precious little there. Now there’s so much stored locally that any helping hand is very welcome indeed.

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