Google removed the unified Pixel Launcher search feature with the release of Android 13’s stable version, however it has now started to return with QPR1 Beta 1.
As with the search bar at the bottom of the Pixel Launcher, the search field at the top of your app grid is also identical. There is now a single, aesthetically comparable experience for searching device and web content, and you can instantly activate Google Lens and provide Assistant voice commands from either.
The actual results you receive, however, vary depending on where a lookup is started. Web results are typically only returned in four lines when you search from the top of the app grid, but you can also receive results through the Settings app and Pixel Tips under the “From this device” area. When you search from the homescreen, only up to five app results in a row and online content are displayed; that area is absent.
However, under Pixel Launcher Home settings > Search your phone, “People” (contacts and conversations) are absent and just “Search the web” is displayed. Possible A/B test here.
As a result, this is essentially the prior strategy that is already live on Android 13 stable, but with a more contemporary UI that fits device search. It’s better than the old style and a much-needed visual update, but it’s still puzzling that Google made such a sudden shift.
Last month, the business informed us that it was aware of the problem and will fix it in a “upcoming version.” That is starting to resemble Android 13 QPR1, which will launch stable for Pixel phones in December. Hopefully Google will speed up the process of bringing back more of the beta UI.