Google Feed Tests Search Option Removal From Pixel Launcher

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Several Pixel and Pixel 2 owners began noticing that Google Feed no longer displays a search bar. Normally on the stock Pixel Launcher, users can access their news feeds by swiping to the right from the home screen. The feed will be displayed with relevant news articles and at the top of that list, users can also tap a search bar to explore the web through Google's popular engine. That feature, however, seems to be disappearing from a number of Pixel smartphones. Instead, many people have seen the full Google logo stationed in the area where the search bar used to reside. The logo changes its text color from the classic red, blue, green, and yellow to pure white regardless of whether the dark of light mode is used. At the moment, there doesn't appear to be any location or version dictating which devices exhibit the altered Google Feed. As far as we can tell, the variance turns out to be conducted using a type of A/B testing on various Google Pixel and Pixel 2 devices.

The Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL launched with quite a number of ways to access Google's search assistant. One of the most commonly advertised ways to accomplish this is through the "Ok Google" or "Hey Google" phrase, which is quickly becoming more popular. The second unique option allows owners to "squeeze for your Assistant," by literally squeezing the sides of their smartphone to immediately launch the smart assistant from any page. Like with all modern versions of Android, users can also tap and hold the home button to launch the assistant. Finally, from any home page, the Pixel Launcher on Android 8.0 Oreo displays a static Google search bar. Tapping this button will instantly bring up the keyboard and allow you to enter either a query or else use most of Google Assistant's other features, like typing in a command to create a reminder.

The Google Feed underwent several redesigns, updates, and experiments in 2017. Some of the changes brought by the Alphabet company to Pixel Launcher-enabled devices were temporal, and many became permanent. It is unclear whether Google intends to roll out the removal of the search bar to all Pixel Launcher phones or if the company intends to gather more feedback before making a sweeping decision. It makes sense for Google to streamline its software experience and make the Google Logo more prominent across its many platforms. Perhaps the tech giant will end up keeping the search bar at the top of the page, or maybe users will need to find an alternative way to search for new content when viewing Google Feed.

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