Google seems to be on a testing spree and it is making quite a few server-side changes in the primary Search app on its Android platform.
Based on the feedback taken from several users, a couple of changes that are in progress might be made to the side menu, new features might be introduced and the ones that have already been seen but not implemented yet might be improved.
The Recent Search Tab
There are a couple of ways to access a search that has been performed previously on the Google app or on the widget. The user will either have to remember the exact words they had used to perform the search and try searching for the same again, or they can access their Google activity dashboard, or the last option is using the trick of tapping on the Google icon which will basically open the consequent search as a new separate page, lurking the users to leave the previous page. Well, now, there could be another new and a better way to access the search history and recall the older results.
A new option called the ‘Recent’ tab has been introduced in the side menu, which opens up a list, wherein the users can scroll through all their recent searches. The list will also display big thumbnails of the previous result page. The users will be allowed to swipe through them quickly to look out for an answer, and if the answer is not there, then they tap on the thumbnail and perform the search again. The results that have been inferred after browsing multiple consequent pages will be grouped together, which will have a small blue page indicator at the bottom that will show how many pages have been involved.
Offline Searching Mode
For a few months now, Google has been testing the offline search feature. This feature was first spotted by Android Police, a tech savvy website when a notification popped up for few users saying that a search was ready, instead of dismissing it off in spite of the network connection being optimum or even when the search was offline. When the device is back on a better internet network connection, Google will be performing the search in the background and will notify the user after the search result page is ready. This function had bugs then when it was just out with few users not able to dismiss few of these notifications.
However, it looks like the Offline search function is back, in a supposedly more conscious and sewn-up way. The first addition is a new option called the ‘Manage Searches’, which appears in the side menu and allows the users to look up for all the impending searches that have not been performed yet. There is an ‘Offline Search’ option in the settings of the Google Search app, which when power-switched, tunes in the feature that allows the user to retry the failed searches and get notified when the search results are ready. The pending searches can also be accessed from the Offline Search option.
Lite Search Mode
Finally, the third new feature introduced by Google in its Search app is the Lite mode that shows up in the side menu. To recall, Lite mode had first begun as the Google Web Light, a method implemented by Google to serve the users with pages containing only the important and relevant content and stripping off the information that is not required from the superfluous data, therefore, optimizing the search when there is a slow network connection. The Lite Mode was first introduced officially with the Google News & Weather, to optimize the pages on slow connections, and looks like it will now be coming down to the Google Search as well. Back in October, there were reports doing the rounds which suggested a beta version of the Lite mode in the teardown of the Google app, so, it being announced now does not come as a surprise.
The Lite Mode comes embedded in the side menu, which eases the viewing of the choice made by the users and also to quickly access its settings to swap in between the options for on, off, and automatic. It is to be noted that this access will be granted to the users only while experiencing slow network connections. It should also be kept in mind that the Lite Mode is not like the AMP pages that were rolled out in September for the Google Search app. The difference in between these two is that the web developers will have to optimize their websites for AMP, after which Google will serve to only those when they exist. However, the Lite Mode is more of an organized customization, which any app developer or even Google can implement to any page that has been opened inside their app when there is a slow connection, which might be too slow to serve the complete content.
Apart from the Recent Search, Offline Search, and Lite Mode searches, there seem to be many more improvements that might make their way out to the Google Search app on the Android platform. However, it should be kept in mind that all these features are still server-side improvements and there is a possibility for them to be completely ousted before they are rolled out to all the users.