It seems Google is testing a small change in the design of the home screen for owners of a Pixel-branded phone. The change specifically refers to the Pixel Launcher search bar (found at the bottom of the home screen). Previously this was just a blank search bar with only the Google logo visible (as shown above), although some users are now seeing text plastered across the search bar.
What is slightly strange however, is the text is a little on the self-explanatory side as according to reports it either reads “search apps and the web” or in some cases the more simple “search.’ Therefore for some, this will look and feel a little redundant and unneeded as most people who own a Pixel phone, or an Android phone in general, will likely already be familiar enough with the purpose of the search bar. At present, it is unclear how widespread this is in terms of showing up for users, although it is clear that is still a feature in testing due to it only showing for some users as of now. Of those users, it has reportedly shown up for owners of both the original Pixel models, as well as both of the second-generation devices, the Pixel 2 and 2 XL. Needless to say, as this is a design change relative to the Pixel Launcher, it is only going to show for owners of a Pixel phone.
Google is no stranger to testing new elements with some of its Android users, and these changes are often noted with a number of them having been reported on in the past month alone. Including ones specific to search, such as local search suggestions, and others that are more relevant to Google's other apps and services, such as a new notifications section for the Google Play Store. With that in mind, and typical of Google’s approach to in-testing changes in general, there is no suggestion that this will become more widely available - either for Pixel owners, or Android users in general. Below is an image from a one of the devices that is now reportedly seeing the new search bar text, for reference.