Google's Pixel Launcher – based around the stock launcher found on its HTC-built Pixel devices – has not been without its fair share of bugs since its launch but the latest reports surfacing about the launcher are a bit more puzzling. The problem many users are experiencing and increasingly reporting is that the onscreen shortcut used to conduct a Google search – Google's own pill-shaped widget – has stopped working properly. That may not be such a big deal except that this is a Google widget on Google's own launcher, and even on Google's own devices. Specifically, many users are noting that their search history is not showing up as it should, auto-fill suggestions are notably absent, and nothing happens after a search is entered. Moreover, users also report seeing a "failed to load cards" message in the Google app before experiencing the issue, while others report that Google Now failed to move past the loading screen just before the error happened for them.
The exact cause of the issue is still unknown, as of this writing, but it likely has something to do with the recent update to the app – with many users commenting that the only solution they've heard from Google is to roll back the update. Other users have also reported that a device reboot has fixed their issue temporarily. Force-closing both the Google app and the Pixel Launcher is also claimed to provide some momentary relief. Luckily, a quick reboot or force close isn't too big of a deal with regards to a temporary fix for those users who are experiencing the issue. However, while those may work as a temporary fix for anybody having the issue, it isn't permanent and doesn't always work. If it doesn't work, or if users aren't satisfied having to fiddle with device settings each time the problem occurs, users can roll back to the previous version through Android's app management, which can be found by going to the Settings menu for their device, and then Apps. After selecting the offending application in the app manager, users should look for a button which reads "uninstall updates."
Clicking that will reportedly solve the problem by rolling back to the factory version of the app. Since other search-related issues have occurred in so many places just before the shortcut failed may be a further indicator that some under-the-hood changes were made via the update and that the problem is caused by those not playing well with the underlying framework. That framework is, generally speaking, shared across many of Google's other apps that are associated with the search process across the launcher's various supported devices. Fortunately, it seems that Google is aware of the problem and is likely already hard at work on a patch to alleviate it. Anybody experiencing the issue should also report it to Google, alongside the relevant device, Android version numbers, and information. That may help speed the process along.