Since Huawei cannot license Google Mobile Services (GMS) for new devices, the company is working on creating its own alternative, aptly named Huawei Mobile Services (HMS). The latest development in this regard is that Huawei is now beta testing the Huawei Search app, its alternative to the Google app.
The Chinese tech giant is hiring users in the UAE to test the new app, a Redditor has confirmed to XDA-Developers.
The Redditor, who goes by the username /u/beingnull, even provided the APK file of the Huawei Search app. XDA’s Max Weinbach could run the app on his Huawei Mate 30 Pro and see how it works.
Huawei Search enters beta testing
Huawei Search is a basic search app that does exactly what it is supposed to. Unlike the Google app, which also includes elaborate features such as Google Assistant, Google Lens, and more along with the search functionality, Huawei Search just lets you search the Internet for webpages, videos, news articles, or images.
Added features include a weather widget that shows a 24-hour weather forecast powered by Huafeng-AccuWeather.
It sources data from the China Meteorological Administration. There are also shortcuts for sports, unit conversion, and calculator.
You can view your search history in the Settings and even turn history-saving off. The app also offers a "safe search" mode and supports EMUI 10’s dark mode.
You can also change the app’s search scope, which controls what Huawei applications it can search through. Huawei Search also lets you change your search region and language.
As per the User Agreement, users “must have a Huawei ID” to use this app. The User Agreement also reveals that the app is operated by Aspiegel Limited, Huawei’s subsidiary based in Dublin, Ireland.
Interestingly, Huawei Search is not publically available on the web, unlike Google's search service. It is only available in Huawei devices as "an app or embedded search filed in Huawei services, such as Assistant.”
It's unclear which search engine powers Huawei Search, as there are no matching search results with Google, Yahoo, Bing, DuckDuckGo, Yandex, and others. XDA suspects it may not be using any third-party engine, as Huawei seems to be able to delist search results on users' requests.
With limited functionalities, Huawei Search is still far from being an alternative to Google search or Microsoft Bing. That said, a lot can still change in the future. We'll have to wait and see what Huawei does with its search app from here on.